The Cardinals' taxed rotation showed deep cracks once again Sunday against the Angels.
Ace Chris Carpenter gave up four earned runs in six innings and another unearned run to spot Anaheim to a big early lead. And this time the slumping bats had to carry the bulk of the load and lead St. Louis to a 6-5 extra innings win.
Down 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the Birds's bats broke through.
Albert Pujols flied to center to start the inning. But then Matt Holliday singled, Colby Rasmus walked and David Freese got a hit to load the bases. Yadier Molina, a good RBI batsman but also a double play candidate came to the dish and fought off several tough pitches before lining a single to left field and knocking in a pair of runs to cut the lead to 4-2.
Cardinals centerfielder Colby Rasmus scores the tying run on a David Freese single with two outs in the eighth inning. AP photo.
Brendan Ryan hit the ball through Angels shortstop Erick Aybar for an error and the Cardinals pulled to 4-3. But the Halos scored on a Bobby Abreu single in the top of the sixth inning and it stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth.
Ryan Ludwick grounded out to start the inning, but Pujols walked, and stole second and then, after Matt Holliday struck out, Rasmus walked then Pujols stole third with Rasmus taking second. With two runners in scoring position, David Freese singled to left and drove in the tying runs.
The Cardinals got a leadoff walk from Holliday in the tenth. Rasmus struck out, but then Freese was hit by a pitch and Molina walked to load the bases with one out. Felipe Lopez came to the plate and skied a long fly to right over the drawn in outfield to give the Redbirds a 6-5 win and five victories in their seven-game home stand.
Thanks to a Reds loss, the victory also put the Birds back in first place.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Freese was 3-for-4 with a run scored and a pair of RBIs. He upped his season batting average to .315 ahead of Pujols and Holliday for the team lead.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Freese's eighth inning tying hit.
Lowlight: Ryan Ludwick was 0-for-5 and looked completely lost at the plate.