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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Rookie James Paxton gave up two hits in six shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners ended a five-game losing streak, beating St. Louis 4-1 Saturday night and dropping the Cardinals into a first-place tie in the NL Central.

St. Louis and Pittsburgh share the division lead once again. The Pirates topped the Cubs 2-1.

The Cardinals mustered only three hits, including Matt Carpenter's league-leading 50th double in the eighth. He later scored on a wild pitch by Charlie Furbush.

Franklin Gutierrez hit a two-run double in the fifth inning that ended St. Louis rookie Michael Wacha's scoreless streak at 23 2-3 innings. Kendrys Morales hit his 22nd homer in eighth off Tyler Lyons to make it 3-0.

The St. Louis hitters have been struggling all week, and they never got going at all against the 24-year-old Paxton (2-0), who limited them to a pair of singles.

The first was by Wacha (3-1) in the third when Paxton came off the bag to field a tapper and then slipped and fell, losing his grip.

The Cardinals managed three hits in seven scoreless innings to start the weekend series against the Mariners before winning 2-1 in 10 innings. They broke up no-hit bids in the sixth against Wily Peralta and Marco Estrada, winning both games while taking two of three from the Brewers.

Paxton struck out five and walked two. He won his major league debut a week ago against Tampa Bay, allowing an earned run in six innings.

Danny Farquhar finished for his 14th save in 16 chances.

Wacha struck out five in his seventh career start but also walked four in five innings.

Mariners pitchers were 0 for 20 with 13 strikeouts at the plate this year before Wacha walked Paxton on four pitches in the fifth to put runners on first and second with none out, setting up Gutierrez's double.

Seattle leadoff man Brad Miller was removed with a mild left hamstring strain after running out a sacrifice bunt in the fifth. Replacement Carlos Triunfel had a sacrifice fly in the ninth off Fernando Salas.

NOTES: Yadier Molina, who threw out two runners attempting to steal in the same inning Friday, was the first Cardinals C to do that since manager Mike Matheny on May 1, 2001, at Florida. Matheny said he didn't remember the occasion, but added, "You don't normally get that many opportunities unless you're stinking, or else your pitcher's just giving you no chance."

Saturday, 14 September 2013 22:49
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ATLANTA (AP) — Steven Jackson always wondered how the other half lived.

Spending his first nine seasons with the St. Louis Rams, he put up some impressive numbers individually but made only one trip to the playoffs — as a rookie. He never played on a winning team, which really started to wear on him in the end.

"When you're not on national television a lot, some of the things you've done over the years can get overlooked easily," said Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowler who has rushed for more than 10,000 yards. "You can only have so much individual success to kind of pacify you through your career."

So, with St. Louis looking to go younger in the backfield, Jackson moved on to the Atlanta Falcons, who came oh-so-close to making the Super Bowl last season.

Well, look who he'll be facing in Week 2 with his new team.

Yep, the Rams (1-0), who are trying to build on their first season-opening victory since 2006.

"I was on the outside,' Jackson said. "Now, being on the inside and seeing what a good team looks like, I saw what I was missing. I'm happy to be given this opportunity."

Atlanta (0-1) dropped its opener at New Orleans, the bid for a game-winning touchdown stopped on fourth down at the Saints 3 with less than a minute remaining.

But Jackson turned in the sort of all-around performance the Falcons were looking for when they signed him to replace Michael Turner, rushing 11 times for 77 yards and catching five passes for 45 yards.

At age 30, he's still got game — and the respect of his former team.

"Obviously, Jack was a huge part of me growing up," Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said. "I learned most how to be a leader. I watched the way he handled himself in different situations in the locker room, on the field, in practice, during games. I learned a ton from Jack. I really couldn't imagine having to start my career here without him."

So, with much of the attention on Jackson facing his former team, here are five other things to look for when the Falcons host the Rams on Sunday:

___

PROTECTING THE QB: Bradford hasn't been sacked in three straight games going back to last season, the first time the Rams have done that since 1973. Contrast that with the Falcons, who have only two offensive line starters at the same positions as last season. That lack of continuity showed throughout the preseason and in Week 1, when Matt Ryan was sacked three times and hurried on many more throws. The Rams will be looking to tee off on Ryan after getting four sacks in their opener.

RODDY'S ANKLE: Falcons WR Roddy White has played in 129 consecutive games, tied for the fourth-longest streak in franchise history, but he's been bothered by a high ankle sprain since the preseason. White was clearly not at full strength in the opener, catching only two passes for 19 yards. If he's still hobbled, the Rams can slide their coverages toward WR Julio Jones and TE Tony Gonzalez.

COOKING UP A RECORD: Jared Cook had quite a debut with the Rams, setting a franchise record for receiving yards by a tight end with 141 on seven catches. He also had a pair of touchdowns, giving the Falcons defense another dynamic tight end to account for after facing Jimmy Graham of the Saints.

ROOKIE CORNERS: Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford had to play key roles in the Atlanta secondary with Asante Samuel sidelined by an injury in Week 1. They both held up well against Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints. Alford had an interception and broke up two passes, while Trufant also knocked away a throw. The Falcons are hoping to get Samuel back, but Trufant remains a starter and Alford should continue getting extensive playing time.

BOUNCING BACK: The Falcons haven't had a losing streak since 2009. They are 20-3 after losses under coach Mike Smith and riding a 12-game winning streak in those situations. The Rams have their work cut out for them — especially playing at the Georgia Dome, where the Falcons are 33-7 in the regular season over the last five years.

Friday, 13 September 2013 23:29
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long did not practice and coach Jeff Fisher says he's questionable for Sunday's game at Atlanta with hip soreness.

Long, the second overall pick in 2008, has posted double-digit sack totals the last two seasons and has played in 81 consecutive games, the third-longest streak among defensive ends. He was limited on Thursday.

Also on the injury report Friday were cornerback Quinton Porter, ruled out with a thigh injury, and safety Darian Stewart was doubtful.

Friday, 13 September 2013 23:27
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Blues and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo agreed on a seven-year, $45.5 million contract with a no-trade clause over the final three years, ending a brief holdout.

The deal was announced Friday, one day after the first practice of training camp. General manager Doug Armstrong said it was a strong signal that the Blues intend for the 23-year-old Pietrangelo, the fourth overall pick of the 2008 draft and one of the top offensive defensemen in the NHL, to spend his career in St. Louis.

A news conference for Armstrong and Pietrangelo (Pet-TRANJ'-el-oh) was set for Saturday.

"What I said to him, 'This isn't a seven-year deal, this is just another steppingstone," Armstrong said. "I think he's excited to be here, I know we're excited to have him, get him in here and turn him over to the coach."

The Blues had hoped to get a deal before training camp but talks briefly broke down. Armstrong said negotiations resumed Thursday and "we were able to wrap up all the loose ends that were there."

Pietrangelo tweeted, "Really excited to be a part of Blues organization for the next 7 years."

He will average $6.5 million on a deal that will gradually escalate, making $5 million this season and peaking at $7.5 million in the final season.

"It's something that's ongoing because both sides wanted to get it done, and a lot of credit goes to ultimately Alex," Armstrong said. "As we said a couple days ago, Alex makes these decisions. Not his agent, not anyone else. Today, when I talked to him he was satisfied."

Players got the news coming off the ice.

Forward David Backes, the team captain, called Pietrangelo a "supreme talent" who is able to shut down the opposition's top forward without sacrificing offense.

"He's a top defenseman in this league, no question," Backes said. "To know that he's with us, we can knock that distraction off the list, kind of that peripheral noise. We know that we've got our guys together."

Pietrangelo led the team's defensemen with 24 points — five goals and 19 assists — and was among the league leaders with an average of 25 minutes per game. He's been a regular the past three seasons.

Armstrong said it had been a matter of when — not if — the parties agreed on a deal. Backes pointed out that Pietrangelo has "set some roots."

"You knew that he was going to be here long term, you just didn't know how much the business side was going to get in the way," Backes said. "In the end, there's a lot of happy people on both sides.

"After he takes a little bit of razzing from the guys for not being here, he'll be right back in the group and together with us like he should be."

Coach Ken Hitchcock didn't think it would take Pietrangelo long to catch up with the rest of the team. The Blues open the preseason Sunday at Dallas.

"We kept him up to date until we couldn't speak to him anymore," Hitchcock said. "He knows the last couple weeks what's going on ... players have kept him up to date."

Friday, 13 September 2013 23:23
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Pete Kozma scored on catcher Mike Zunino's passed ball with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals retook the NL Central lead with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

The Cardinals lead the division by a game after Pittsburgh lost. They're 6-1 on a nine-game homestand.

Kozma entered in the eighth inning as a pinch-runner, later stole third base and scored the tying run.

In the 10th, Kozma singled with two outs off Chase Ruffin (0-2). Oliver Perez walked Matt Carpenter and Jon Jay to load the bases.

Zunino couldn't handle the first pitch to Matt Holliday, with the ball rolling free and Kozma scoring on a head-first slide.

Rookie Kevin Siegrist (3-1) worked around two hits in the 10th for the win. He has not allowed a run in 19 1-3 innings.

Zunino homered for the Mariners, who have lost a franchise-record 13 games in extra innings, including their last six in a row.

The Cardinals have won their last four extra-inning games. Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina helped them get there this time, throwing out pinch-runner Endy Chavez and Dustin Ackley when they tried to steal in the ninth.

Hisashi Iwakuma allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings for Seattle.

Adam Wainwright allowed a run in eight innings. The 16-game winner was hurt only by Zunino's 435-foot homer in the fifth.

Seattle second baseman Nick Franklin dropped pinch-hitter Brock Peterson's towering pop fly in the eighth for a two-base error that helped the Cardinals tie it. Kozma and stole third on Carpenter's full-count walk, then scored on Jay's grounder off Charlie Furbush.

The Cardinals struggled against Milwaukee pitching the previous series, with Wily Peralta and Marco Estrada both carrying no-hit bids into the sixth. St. Louis also struggled against Iwakuma, and one of the biggest cheers came when the final score was posted for the Pirates' 5-4 loss to the Cubs.

Zunino had been 4 for 30 in 10 games since coming off the 15-day disabled list from a broken left hand that sidelined him more than a month. He connected for his third homer of the season and first since July 22.

NOTES: Iwakuma topped 200 innings for the season in the fourth. ... It was 70 degrees at gametime, a 25-degree drop from two days earlier. ... 2B Carpenter hit his major league-leading 49th double in the third and made the defensive play of the game in the seventh with a sliding stab in the outfield grass and throw to rob Zunino of a hit. ... A pair of rookies get the call on Saturday night, with Michael Wacha (3-0, 2.72) making his seventh career start for the Cardinals and James Paxton (1-0, 1.50) making his second career start for Seattle. ... Former Cardinals 3B Ken Oberkfell threw the ceremonial first pitch. ... Kyle Seager started his 100th consecutive game at 3B, extending his Mariners' franchise record. ... Mariners radio rookie play-by-play man Aaron Goldsmith called a game in his hometown for the first time.

Friday, 13 September 2013 23:19
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A Blues holdout, is no longer a hold out. 

The team announced that they have agreed to terms with Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Below is the release from the team.

 

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has agreed to terms with defenseman Alex Pietrangelo on a seven-year contract.

“We’re excited to have Alex signed over the next seven years as he will continue be a key component of our franchise,” said Armstrong.  “He is an elite defenseman in this league and will be for years to come.”

Pietrangelo, 23, dressed in 47 games last season leading the Blues’ defense with 24 points including five goals and 19 assists while ranking 13th in ice time per game (25:06) among all National Hockey League (NHL) defensemen.  In the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Pietrangelo posted two points (one goal, one assist) in six games while tying for second on the club with a +2 rating. 

Since his first full season in 2010, Pietrangelo is tied for sixth among all defensemen in points (118), ranks 10th in goals (28), tied for ninth in assists (90) and slots 15th in plus/minus (+34), while he became the youngest defenseman in Blues history to record back-to-back 40-plus point seasons in 2010-11 (43) and 2011-12 (51).  In addition, in 2011-12, Pietrangelo joined Al MacInnis as the only defensemen in club history to record six game-winning goals and six power play goals in the same season. 

Overall, the 6’3, 201-pound defenseman has appeared five NHL seasons accumulating 121 points including 29 goals and 92 assists to go along with 73 penalty minutes in 224 career regular season games, while tallying seven points (one goal, six assists) in 14 career postseason games. 

 Internationally, the King City, Ontario native has represented Canada on three occasions including winning the Gold Medal at the 2009 World Juniors and the Silver Medal at the 2010 World Juniors, while also appearing in seven games at the 2011 World Championships.  In addition, Pietrangelo recently participated in Team Canada’s Olympic Orientation Camp in preparation for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

 

Pietrangelo was originally drafted by the Blues in the first round, 4th overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Friday, 13 September 2013 14:18
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Tyler Thornburg threw six solid innings and Sean Halton homered to lead the Milwaukee Brewers over St. Louis 5-3 on Thursday night, snapping the Cardinals' five-game winning streak.

St. Louis fell into a tie with Pittsburgh for the top spot in the NL Central. Both teams are 85-61 with 16 games remaining. The idle Cincinnati Reds are 2 1/2 back.

Milwaukee broke a three-game losing streak against St. Louis and beat the Cardinals for only the fourth time in 16 meetings this season.

The Cardinals are 5-1 on their nine-game homestand.

Thornburg (2-1), making his eighth career start, gave up two runs and three hits. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Nashville, going 0-9 with a 5.79 ERA in 15 starts.

Thornburg struck out six and walked two. He has allowed two runs or fewer and gone six innings in all five major league starts this season.

Jim Henderson earned his 25th save in 29 opportunities.

Halton, who had three RBIs, hit a two-run homer off Joe Kelly (8-4) in the fourth to put the Brewers up 4-0. Halton also had a run-scoring single in the second.

Kelly allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits in five innings. He won his previous five starts, and the Cardinals had won his last eight.

Matt Adams hit a two-out solo homer in the ninth, his 13th of the season.

The Brewers scored single runs in each of the first two innings. Scooter Gennett and Jonathan Lucroy singled in the first, and Gennett came around on a groundout by Aramis Ramirez.

The Cardinals pulled to 4-2 in the fourth on a run-scoring double by Matt Holliday and a sacrifice fly by David Freese. They also put two on with one out in the sixth, but Thornburg retired Carlos Beltran and Freese to end the threat.

Norichika Aoki tripled in Yuniesky Betancourt in the ninth.

NOTES: St. Louis RHP Trevor Rosenthal missed the game. His wife, Lindsey, was in labor awaiting their first child. ... Cardinals C Yadier Molina missed his second successive game due to an illness to his mother, Gladys. General manager John Mozeliak said Molina could be back Friday. ... St. Louis 1B Allen Craig is making progress with his injured left foot. "We're still optimistic he'll play again," Mozeliak said. "He's feeling a lot better. It's one of those things where you're just going to have to let some time progress." Craig sustained a left mid-foot strain on Sept. 4. ... The Brewers begin a 10-game homestand Friday against Cincinnati. Kyle Lohse (9-9, 3.59 ERA) will face Reds RHP Mat Latos (14-5, 3.02) in the opener of a three-game series. ... St. Louis ends its homestand with three games against Seattle beginning Friday. Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (16-9, 3.03) faces Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.97).

Thursday, 12 September 2013 22:31
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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - The St. Louis Blues opened training camp without restricted free-agent defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who is waiting for a new contract.

   Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said Wednesday that discussions between the team and Pietrangelo's agent have reached an impasse "for now."

   The 23 year old Pietrangelo, the No. 4 pick in the 2008 draft, has been part of St. Louis' top defensive pairing the last three seasons. He is also the Blues' top scoring threat on the back line.

   Pietrangelo had five goals and 19 assists in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. He had 12 goals, 51 points and a plus-16 rating in the 2011-12 campaign.

   A total of 53 players are expected to participate in camp with practices beginning on Thursday.

 
Thursday, 12 September 2013 02:04
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matt Adams had a two-run home run and the Cardinals broke open a tight game with four in the eighth to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 on Wednesday night.

The Cardinals won their fifth consecutive game to maintain a one-game lead over Pittsburgh and a three-game advantage on Cincinnati in the NL Central. The Pirates finished a three-game sweep at Texas and the Reds knocked off the Chicago Cubs earlier in the day.

Milwaukee has lost three of five.

Brandon Kintzler (3-2) gave up three runs on two hits and a walk while only getting two outs. He surrendered a game-tying hit in the seventh before loading the bases with one out in the eighth.

Carlos Beltran's sacrifice fly off Michael Gonzalez scored Matt Carpenter to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. An error by catcher Jonathan Lucroy allowed Jon Jay to score and Adams followed with his 12th homer of the season.

Trevor Rosenthal (2-3) had a hitless eighth inning for the win.

The Cardinals broke through on an RBI hit from David Descalso. Matt Holliday led off with a single, the second hit against starter Marco Estrada, and moved to second on a two-out walk to David Freese.

Descalso sent Kintzler's second pitch down the left field line to score Holliday and tie the game at 1-1.

Estrada took a no-hitter into the sixth, losing it with two outs. Carpenter, who struck out in his first two at-bats, hit a liner that bounced just in front of the pitcher, nicked his leg and bounded to third baseman Aramis Ramirez. His throw pulled Juan Francisco off first base in what otherwise would have been a close play.

Estrada gave up two hits in 6?, struck out six and walked two. He's made six starts since returning in early August from the disabled list with a strained hamstring and has gone 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA in that span.

Cardinals starter Lance Lynn had one of his best outings in more than a month. He went six innings and struck out 10, the third time this season he's reached double digits and the sixth time in 61 starts. He also walked two, including Scooter Gennett in the second that led to the Brewers' run.

Carlos Gomez singled with one out and moved to second on Gennett's walk. On a successful double steal, Gomez came home when Tony Cruz's attempt to get Gennett bounced into centerfield.

Lynn lost his previous five starts leading into Wednesday's game as his ERA rose to 4.37 from 3.78. He last win came Aug. 4, when he gave up two runs in eight innings in a 15-2 victory at Cincinnati.

NOTES: St. Louis C Yadier Molina missed the game for "family matters," according to manager Mike Matheny. The Cardinals did not elaborate on the reason or say when the All-Star catcher would return to the team. ... St. Louis distributed 7,906 complimentary tickets to first responders and military personnel in honor of Sept. 11. ... Tyler Thornburg (1-1, 2.08) is scheduled to start for Milwaukee in the finale of the three-game set Thursday and will face Joe Kelly (8-3, 2.74). Kelly has won his past five starts. ... Hockey great Wayne Gretzky watched the game from the front row.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013 22:59
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matt Holliday's two-run home run in the sixth inning stunned Wily Peralta with the St. Louis Cardinals' first hit and rookie Shelby Miller blanked the Milwaukee Brewers into the seventh inning of a 4-2 victory Tuesday night.

Norichika Aoki of the Brewers struck out three times for the first time in the majors, the last against rookie lefty Kevin Siegrist with a runner on second to end the seventh. Aoki entered the game as the toughest batter to fan in the majors this year, averaging one per 17.2 at-bats.

Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams added RBIs in the seventh and eighth for the NL Central leaders, who are 4-0 to begin a nine-game homestand. After a day off, the Cardinals built on momentum from a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh.

The 22-year-old Miller (13-9) emphasized more off-speed deliveries to keep the pitch count down and allowed five hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 6 2-3 innings. He's 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts against Milwaukee, the other two wins coming on the road.

Peralta (9-15) was significantly improved over his first two starts against the Cardinals, both in May, in which he allowed 12 runs and 22 hits in 9 1-3 innings. In 6 2-3 innings he was charged with three runs and three hits with seven strikeouts.

The Brewers avoided getting shut out for a third time by St. Louis on pinch-hitter Logan Schafer's two-run homer off Edward Mujica in the ninth.

Peralta struck out five of the first seven hitters and the Cardinals had two baserunners the first five innings: a walk by Holliday in the fourth and first baseman Jonathan Lucroy's error on a dropped throw in the third. Aoki kept the no-hitter going with a sliding catch down the right field line that robbed David Freese of a hit opening the fifth.

Holliday fouled balls off his left foot or ankle three times the first two at-bats, near where he's wearing a guard from previous occurrences. Carpenter walked to open the sixth and Holliday saw just one pitch his third time against Peralta, hammering a fastball an estimated 424 feet to left-center for his 19th homer.

Siegrist, a 41st-round draft pick, has worked 18 consecutive scoreless innings and has held left-handed hitters to just four hits in 53 at-bats.

Rookie Scooter Gennett of Milwaukee had two hits and is batting .394

Brett Hull chucked a side-armed ceremonial first pitch, a day after the hockey Hall of Famer rejoined the St. Louis Blues as an executive vice president.

NOTES: Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said there was "no timetable or any better guesstimate" on when Allen Craig might return from a sprained left foot. Craig is batting .396 against Milwaukee with two homers and 10 RBIs. ... Brewers manager Ron Roenicke picked the Cardinals to prevail in the Central because they're "probably the most well-rounded team," and also thought all three teams would be contenders for years to come. "And that's a tough thing for us," he said. "You don't have all these veterans who are going to be free agents and they're going to be losing all these guys." ...The Brewers played the first of 20 straight days, the maximum allowed in the collective bargaining agreement, to end the season. They'll use a six-man rotation the rest of the year, getting an extended look at youngsters Tyler Thornburg and Johnny Hellweg, the PCL pitcher of the year at Triple-A Nashville, and give extra days off to the rest of the rotation.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 22:38
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