ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Adam Wainwright earned his NL-leading 15th win with his fifth complete game and had a key sacrifice fly to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
Matt Holliday's 432-foot home run off Kris Medlen (10-12) snapped a sixth-inning tie for St. Louis, which took the first two games of a four-game set against the NL East leaders.
Having already thrown 101 pitches, Wainwright was allowed to bat with the one out and the bases loaded in the seventh inning and hit a long sacrifice fly off Scott Downs for his third RBI of the season to make it 3-1. He then retired the side in order in the eighth.
Medlen singled to lead off the sixth and scored on Freddie Freeman's second hit of the game and retired 12 in a row at one point. But he allowed Holliday's 17th homer on a liner deep into the left field stands. He's lost his last two times out, including a relief appearance in a 15-inning game.
The Cardinals lost three in a row at Atlanta to start a seven-game losing streak in late July that knocked them out of the Central lead and entered the night a game behind Pittsburgh. Wainwright (15-7) took one of the losses in that series, but the Brunswick, Ga., native is 7-2 against the Braves.
Wainwright allowed a run on six hits with no walks and nine strikeouts, passing injured teammate Chris Carpenter for fourth on the franchise career list, and he has 16 career complete games. He's worked seven or more innings seven straight starts and retired 10 in a row at one point.
He even got an assist from his manager. Mike Matheny, a former four-time Gold Glove catcher, took the warmup tosses from Wainwright before the ninth.
Yadier Molina had three hits with a pair of doubles to raise his NL-leading average to .337, five points ahead of the Braves' Chris Johnson, who had a pair of singles.
Molina doubled and Jon Jay singled to open the seventh and chase Medlen. Downs got a brief reprieve earlier in the inning when a wild pitch ricocheted back to catcher Brian McCann.
The Braves' Justin Upton was ejected in the sixth for arguing with home plate umpire Paul Nauert after a groundout, perhaps about a called third strike the previous at-bat.
NOTES: Braves SS Andrelton Simmons made an outstanding sliding catch on Kolten Wong's foul popup in the second. ... B.J. Upton snapped an 0-for-25 slump with a single in the second. ... Wainwright tied his career best for complete games in a season, also throwing five in 2010. He threw a season-high 128 pitches.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Joe Kelly pitched six effective innings, Matt Holliday broke out of a slump with two doubles and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Thursday night.
David Freese drove in two runs as St. Louis won for the fifth time in six games.
The NL East-leading Braves played without Jason Heyward, who is out with a broken right jaw after he was beaned during Wednesday's 4-1 win at the New York Mets. The outfielder had surgery on Thursday in Atlanta and could miss the rest of the regular season.
Justin Upton hit his 24th homer, but the Braves lost for the second time in three games at the start of a six-game trip. Atlanta had won eight of its last nine regular-season games against St. Louis.
Kelly (5-3) allowed two runs and seven hits while improving to 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA in his last seven starts. St. Louis improved to 7-1 in Kelly's eight starts since he rejoined the rotation on July 6.
Holliday went 2 for 3 and drove in a run, matching the amount of hits he had during a 2-for-24 slide over his previous six games. He doubled and scored in the fourth, then capped St. Louis' three-run fourth with an RBI double that made it 4-2.
Freese had a run-scoring groundout in the fourth and an RBI single in the seventh.
Paul Maholm (9-10) came off the disabled list and allowed five runs, four earned, and five hits in 5 1-3 innings for Atlanta. It was the first game for the left-hander since he left a July 20 start at the Chicago White Sox with a bruised left wrist.
Maholm helped himself with a leadoff single in the fifth. Upton then hit a one-out drive to center for his eighth homer this month, giving Atlanta a 2-1 lead.
St. Louis went back in front in the bottom half on consecutive run-scoring doubles by Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran and Holliday. Pete Kozma sparked the big inning with a one-out walk.
NOTES: The Cardinals began a string of 17 consecutive games against opponents with winning records. ... St. Louis RHP Jake Westbrook is questionable for his next start Monday with back stiffness. ... INF Elliot Johnson made his first start for the Braves and broke out of an 0-for-31 slump with a second-inning single. He was claimed off waivers from Kansas City on Wednesday. ... Atlanta's Kris Medlen (10-11, 3.71 ERA) will face Adam Wainwright (14-7, 2.66 ERA) in the second game of the four-game set on Friday. ... Holliday grounded into his major league-leading 28th double play in the seventh.
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig hit towering home runs in St. Louis' six-run second inning, and the Cardinals held off the Milwaukee Brewers 8-6 on Wednesday.
Matt Holliday also homered and Shane Robinson had three hits for the Cardinals, who are slightly behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the tight NL Central race.
After taking a one-run lead in the first inning on a double by Craig, the Cardinals went ahead 7-0 in the second off Brewers starter Tom Gorzelanny (3-5). Starting pitcher Jake Westbrook hit a bases-loaded double into the left-center field gap that scored two runs. He entered the game hitting only .167 with two RBIs this season.
Following Matt Carpenter's sacrifice fly, Beltran launched a two-run shot that caromed off the center-field scoreboard. With two out, Craig hit a solo homer to right-center.
The Brewers cut into the lead in the third on a three-run homer by Aramis Ramirez, and then added two runs in the fifth.
Juan Francisco broke out of an 0-for-15 slump, during which he struck out 10 times, with a run-scoring single. Sean Halton drove in another run with a hit, cutting the deficit to 7-5 and chasing Westbrook.
Kevin Siegrist struck out pinch-hitter Jeff Bianchi with the bases loaded to end the inning. Siegrist (2-1) recorded two outs to notch the victory. Four Cardinals relievers held the Brewers to one run over the final 5 1-3 innings to preserve the win.
Holliday's solo home run in the ninth extended the lead to 8-5.
Edward Mujica earned his 33rd save in 35 attempts despite giving up a long solo home run to Logan Schafer with one out in the ninth.
Westbrook gave up four earned runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out one during a 75-pitch outing. In his previous start on Aug. 16, when he threw a career-high 124 pitches, Westbrook gave up six earned runs in 6 2-3 innings.
Gorzelanny surrendered seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out five.
Khris Davis had a career-best three hits for Milwaukee.
NOTES: Milwaukee reliever Rob Wooten was placed on the paternity list. Wooten didn't make it back to North Carolina in time for the birth of his daughter. "He walked into the room and (his wife) was holding the baby," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "But everyone is fine." ... Pitcher Donovan Hand was recalled from Triple-A Nashville to replace Wooten. ... OF Norichika Aoki was held out of the lineup due to right knee soreness. "It has been bugging him for a while. We aren't worried too much," Roenicke said. ... The Cardinals concluded a 12-game stretch against NL Central clubs. . St. Louis returns home to face the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. Milwaukee returns to action Friday at Cincinnati.
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Kyle Lohse beat the Cardinals for the first time this season and Sean Halton knocked in a career-high three runs to help the Milwaukee Brewers beat St. Louis 6-3 Tuesday night.
Lohse (9-8) beat the Cardinals in his fourth try this season and improved to 3-5 in nine outings overall against his former team.
Lohse left after six innings with the Brewers leading 6-3. He earned his team-leading 17th quality start, including six in his last seven. He struck out four, walked two and allowed six hits and three runs, two coming on Yadier Molina's two-run homer in the fourth. Molina doubled and scored in the second on Matt Adams' single.
After John Axford and Brandon Kintzler each pitched a scoreless inning, and Jim Henderson pitched the ninth for his 19th save in 22 chances.
Lance Lynn (13-7) got roughed up in the Brewers' five-run fourth, highlighted by Halton's two-run single with the bases loaded.
Milwaukee's first six batters in the frame reached, loading the bases twice with no outs. Scooter Gennett drove in the first run with a single. After Aramis Ramirez singled and Khris Davis reached on Lynn's fielding error, Halton drove them in with a line drive to center that doubled his season RBI total. Logan Schafer followed with an RBI single and Norichika Aoki tacked on the last run with a sacrifice fly.
Halton set a career mark in the fifth with his third RBI of the game. Davis singled, stole second and scored on Halton's grounder into center.
Carlos Beltran singled and scored on Molina's 10th home run of the season.
Adams beat the Brewers defensive shift in the second inning and knocked in Molina with the Cardinals' first run. Adams blooped a single over the head of shortstop Jean Segura, positioned on the right side of second base. Molina was on with a double over the head of center fielder Schafer. The ball flicked off Schafer's glove and rolled to the wall.
NOTES: Kolten Wong, who had his first two major league hits on Monday night, continued getting on base. He went 3 for 5 with two singles and a double. The team's No. 1. pick in the 2011 draft joined the Cardinals from Triple-A Memphis Friday night in Chicago. ... Brewers 1B Juan Francisco got the game off. He's struck out four times in consecutive games. "If I think he just needs one day, I will get him back in there tomorrow," manager Ron Roenicke said. Halton replaced him. ... Lynn is 2-2 in four starts facing the Brewers. ... Brewers CF Carlos Gomez remained out of the starting lineup after spraining his right knee colliding into the center-field wall on Thursday night. He's missed five consecutive games. ... Segura stole his 37th base, matching Everth Cabrera of the San Diego Padres for the NL lead.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Albert Pujols finally agreed he should wait till next year.
Pujols will miss the rest of the season to rest his injured left foot, the Los Angeles Angels announced Monday.
The $240 million slugger gave up his hope to play again next month when the team's medical staff and front office advised him to avoid rushing back to the lineup late in the Angels' dismal season. Pujols partially tore his left plantar fascia last month, and only recently got his foot out of a walking boot.
While sitting out the past three weeks, Pujols repeatedly said he hoped to return at some point in September, even if the Angels remained hopelessly out of contention. He eventually acknowledged the plan made sense only as a salve to his pride.
"It's not an easy decision, as competitive as I am," Pujols said at his locker before the Angels opened a series against Cleveland. "But I also understand that we (need) to look beyond the season."
The three-time NL MVP hasn't played since July 26, when he partially tore his troublesome plantar fascia while running in Oakland. Pujols had been rehabilitating the injury with hopes of playing in September, but the struggling Angels' inability to get into playoff contention made that plan increasingly pointless.
Pujols, who has 492 career homers and 1,498 RBIs, consulted with owner Arte Moreno and general manager Jerry Dipoto before agreeing to shut himself down for the season. Moreno still owes Pujols $212 million over the next eight years in the third-biggest contract in major league history.
"It was a decision of the organization, Arte and Jerry, because I don't make a decision here," said Pujols, who had career lows of 17 homers and 64 RBIs this year. "I put my uniform on and get ready to play. They said, `This is what's best for the organization in the long run,' and they came and brought it to me. And I just told them, `Whatever you guys want to do, I'm all for it.' It's definitely hard, as I want to be out there, but I also understand that I can't be selfish and put myself out there."
The injury has hindered Pujols all season, forcing the first baseman to be a designated hitter for 65 of his career-low 99 games. Pujols will finish with fewer than 30 homers for the first time in his remarkable 13-season career, along with career lows in batting average (.258), on-base percentage (.330) and slugging percentage (.437).
Pujols also had more than 150 hits in each of his first 12 seasons, ending the third-longest streak in modern history.
Those numbers aren't exactly encouraging for a player who will be 34 years old in January - in fact, they're a bit frightening. The Angels are determined to give Pujols every chance to get into ideal health for the spring.
"The doctors think it's the best course of action," manager Mike Scioscia said. "For Albert, everything would have to have been perfectly aligned for him to come back and play. I think by trying to get to that level, maybe there were some things that would have been at risk in setting the healing process back. I think that it's a decision that everyone can be at peace with and get everyone ready for next year."
Pujols has been diligent in his rehabilitation while still hoping to play this season. He even did 45 minutes of cardiovascular work Monday before announcing he was done for the year, and Scioscia is confident Pujols will be in top form by February when he reports to spring training in Tempe, Ariz.
It's certain to be a long offseason for the Angels, all but certain to miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season despite their lavish payroll and sky-high expectations. Los Angeles has lost 23 of 34 heading into its series with the Indians, and most of Pujols' teammates have been similarly disappointing.
Josh Hamilton, who got a five-year deal worth $125 million from Moreno, began the week batting a career-worst .230 with 19 homers, 60 RBIs and career lows in slugging percentage (.425) and on-base percentage (.285). The Angels' starting rotation has one of the majors' highest ERAs, while their bullpen is one of the majors' worst - as is their team defense.
With everything going wrong for the Angels this summer, Pujols decided to try to make things right in 2014.
"Just look at it," Pujols said. "Unless in two weeks something happens and we're only two or three games out ... is it worth it to come back and put yourself in a situation where you take that risk? Or just wait six or seven months and get yourself ready for spring training? That's the decision we all came to."
CHICAGO (AP) -- Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright struck out 11 and allowed one run through seven innings, and Jon Jay drove in four runs with a homer and double to lead St. Louis to a 6-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
Matt Carpenter singled in two runs in the third to help back Wainwright (14-7), who was in command and allowed just five hits and one walk after going 0-2 in his previous four starts.
Junior Lake drove in the Cubs' only run with a double in the sixth.
Wainwright hadn't won since July 21 at home against San Diego and had allowed 14 runs in 28 innings during the span.
On Sunday, he faced only one batter over the minimum through the first five innings and only 26 through seven innings.
Kevin Siegrist and Trevor Rosenthal combined to pitch scoreless eighth and ninth.
Chicago starter Edwin Jackson (7-13) allowed three runs, but only one earned, through six innings. He walked four and struck out three.
Jackson has been stronger in the second half after an 1-8 start. He got little support on Sunday and his defense didn't help when Lake dropped a fly ball in center field for an error in the Cardinals' three-run second inning.
The Cubs have scored just 12 runs in their past eight games at Wrigley Field and have been shut out in five of those contests.
St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina had two doubles in his third game back after two weeks on the disabled list.
Starlin Castro was back in the Cubs lineup a day after being pulled for making a mistake the day before, and had an infield single. Manager Dale Sveum said Castro had atoned for his mistake.
On Saturday, the shortstop dawdled after catching a popup in shallow left field, allowing a run to score and Sveum pulled Castro from the game.
Sveum was thrown out of Sunday's game in the seventh for arguing with plate umpire Phil Cuzzi after Donnie Murphy was called out on a check swing. Sveum yelled from the dugout, then came onto the field to continue the argument following the ejection.
Carpenter's single with two outs and the bases loaded drove in two runs as the Cardinals jumped ahead 3-0 in the second.
With one out, Molina and Jay bounced back-to-back doubles just inside third base to make it 1-0.
Rookie Kolten Wong's deep fly ticked off Lake's glove for an error, putting Wong on second and Jay on third. Following an intentional walk to Daniel Descalso and fly out by Wainwright, Carpenter's hit up the middle drove in Jay and Wong.
The Cubs cut it to 3-1 in the sixth. David Dejesus, who had walked with two outs, scored on Lake's double to the gap.
Jay's three-run homer in the seventh off James Russell, the second of four Chicago relievers, made it 6-1.
DeJesus was thrown out trying to score from third on Anthony Rizzo's fly ball in the eighth.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A game without a touchdown pass just feels wrong to Aaron Rodgers. Never mind that it's the preseason.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback threw 39 TD passes last year and his streak of 35 consecutive games with a TD pass from 2008-12 is the second-longest in NFL history.
So, yeah, Rodgers feels a bit unfulfilled and frustrated going two games this August without reaching the end zone.
And yet, all three of his drives were productive in a 19-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Saturday night. All four thus far, counting the Packers' 17-0 loss to Arizona in the preseason opener.
"I would say it's preseason first, but we're working on things and we like to finish off those drives," Rodgers said after going 10 for 12 for 134 yards. "The Rams have a very good defense, we saw that last year, it was a tough game and we made some plays late to pull it out.
"But you've got to finish off those drives with TDs."
Rodgers expects to play at least a half in Week 3 at home Friday against the Seahawks. Getting to the end zone, "that's kind of the first priority," he said.
Here are five things we learned from the Packers' victory over the Rams:
1. SKILL TO SPARE: Both of Green Bay's starting wide receivers are injured, with Jordy Nelson expected back for the opener from knee surgery and Randall Cobb, who had a team-leading 80 receptions last season, dogged by a biceps injury.
So Rodgers leaned on tight end Jermichael Finley and got contributions from youngsters Jarrett Boykin and Brandon Bostick, too.
"That's the nature of competition," Rodgers said. "We've got a lot of guys hurt, banged up, and guys are playing for roster spots."
2. THIRD AND L-O-O-N-G: Adding playmakers like Tavon Austin and Jared Cook hasn't translated into instant success for the Rams' offense.
Both got involved for the first time, with Cook's 37-yard catch and run the highlight. But the Rams were 1 for 14 on third-down conversions and 0 for 3 on fourth down.
"I think we killed ourselves with penalties," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "It seemed like third-and-forever a lot of the night."
3. LACY'S PUSH: DuJuan Harris is the Packers' incumbent at running back but hasn't played in the preseason because of a knee injury. Second-round pick Eddie Lacy has capitalized on the opening, gaining 40 yards on eight carries and adding an 11-yard reception in the first half.
"Now we've got a back who has very good patience in Eddie," Rodgers said before hastening to add there are several other good backs in camp. "It's a fun competition and we'll see what happens moving forward, but Eddie had a good night."
4. KICKING IT: Mason Crosby set an NFL record with 762 points in his first six seasons, but converted a career-low 63.6 percent of his field goal attempts last year.
Coach Mike McCarthy said Crosby must beat out Giorgio Tavecchio to keep his job. Crosby was 3 for 3 in Week 2 including a 48-yarder, while Tavecchio was wide left with plenty of distance on a 49-yarder and made a 38-yarder.
"The opportunity did not present itself last week and frankly I think that it was important to get them the opportunity," McCarthy said. "We will continue to let those guys battle it out."
5. JOB ONE: Bradford got over-anxious on fourth-and-goal from the 1 and fumbled away the snap. That misplay marred an otherwise nice day, with Bradford going 8 for 12 for 156 yards and leading the Rams to zero points.
"That's on me. I just missed it," Bradford said. "I've got to make sure I have the ball before I get out of there. It's unacceptable. You can't have that happen."
CHICAGO (AP) -- Starlin Castro is continuing to find new ways to make 2013 the worst season in his young career.
Castro was benched shortly after making a mental mistake that allowed the St. Louis Cardinals to score a run and the Cardinals went on to defeat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 Saturday.
Already up 1-0, the Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Matt Carpenter lofted a pop-up to short left field and Castro called off Junior Lake to make the catch. Castro immediately put his head down and hesitated to throw home. Jon Jay took advantage of the mistake, tagging up and scoring from third base.
"I know the outs and everything," Castro said. "I just put my head down, like a mental mistake. I don't want to (make) any excuse for that, it's my mistake and that's why I pay for that, that's why I got taken out of the game. I feel really, really bad that that happened."
After the inning, manager Dale Sveum said something to Castro as he walked down the steps of the dugout. When the Cubs came out to play defense in the sixth, Donnie Murphy switched from third base to shortstop to replace Castro, and Cody Ransom came off the bench to play third.
"Obviously we had a big blunder there," Sveum said. "Lost track of what was going on for whatever reasons and I pulled him out of the game."
Sveum was then asked if Castro gave him an explanation for the mistake.
"No," Sveum responded. "There is no explanation."
After the game, Castro repeatedly apologized to his teammates, coaching staff and to hard-luck loser Travis Wood.
Wood (7-10) retired the first nine St. Louis batters of the game. He gave up four runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, including a two-run home run by Yadier Molina. Molina's ninth homer was his first hit in eight at-bats since he came off the disabled list Thursday.
But the biggest play of the day may have been Jay scoring on what the umpires ruled an infield fly.
"It was Jon doing the right thing, tagging, maybe being able to draw a throw," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think good teams constantly find ways to put pressure on the defense, and Jon is such a heads-up player, he took two hard steps and saw he had an opportunity."
The Cubs were shutout for the fifth time in seven games at Wrigley Field. The Cubs left the bases loaded in the third. Darwin Barney and Wood singled and Lake drew a one-out walk. But Cardinals starter Joe Kelly worked out of the jam when he got Anthony Rizzo to strike out and ended the inning on a Nate Schierholtz ground out.
Kelly (4-3) tossed six shutout innings and allowed four hits while striking out six and walking three. Kelly hasn't lost since joining the Cardinals' rotation on July 6.
Despite the alarming lack of offense, the story for the Cubs was Castro's continued lack of focus on the field. Sveum said the coaching staff will continue to work with Castro, but the onus is on the young shortstop to make sure the mental lapses don't continue.
"He's played in the big leagues long enough and we've had our discussions," Sveum said. "There comes a point where you have to cross that bridge and get to the next level. He feels as bad as anybody, he knows what happened and he feels awful right now."
Sveum was unsure if Castro would play Sunday, but added that he had no intention of giving up on him. He cited Castro's past offensive success and, despite Saturday's gaffe, what Sveum believes are improvements on the defensive side.
After hitting at least .300 in his first two seasons and leading the league in hits in 2011, Castro regressed a bit in 2012. However, 2013 has seen him reach new lows, hitting only .244 with a sub-.300 on base percentage.
"It's bad. It's an unbelievable year," Castro said. "Especially for me, I've never had a year like that. I feel really bad, especially with the mistake today and my struggling at home plate. But I don't put my head down. I know I can be good and finish strong."
NOTES: Cubs OF Brian Bogusevic, on the 15-day disabled list since July 15 for a strained left hamstring, will report to Triple-A Iowa to continue rehab. ... Cubs RHP Scott Baker, on the 60-day disabled list recovering from Tommy John surgery, will make his second rehab start Sunday with Single-A Dayton. ... Cubs RHP Edwin Jackson (7-12, 5.05 ERA) will face Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (13-7, 2.71) Sunday in the series finale. . The Cardinals recalled LHP Tyler Lyons from Triple-A Memphis before the game. He is 2-4 with a 5.35 ERA in seven starts. LHP Sam Freeman was optioned to Memphis after pitching four scoreless innings Friday against the Cubs.