The St Louis Cardinals welcomed manager Tony La Russa back to the dugout and extended the drought of Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee with a 3-1 victory over the Phillies on Monday.
La Russa’s return from an absence of six games because of a virus ended the Cardinals (23-19) three-game losing streak.
St Louis starter Jake Westbrook pitched seven innings and allowed just one run to out-pitch Lee, who has not won a start since April 14 — a stretch of six games.
“It was a great performance by [Westbrook],” Cardinals teammate Nick Punto told reporters after aiding his pitcher with an RBI in the fourth inning. “When you’re facing a guy like [Lee] you’re just in there battling. It was nice to get a couple hits.”
Ryan Theriot also hit a RBI single for the Cardinals in the fourth inning to give the home side a 2-1 lead, while Jon Jay added an RBI single in the seventh to end Lee’s game.
Lee fell to just 2-4 on the season after walking six batters and allowing all three runs in 6-1/3 innings.
St Louis, without injured third baseman David Freese, started first baseman Albert Pujols at third base for the first time since 2002.
“The whole thing centered on Albert,” La Russa said. “Albert volunteered to play third. I wouldn’t have really come forward unless we had a lot more reasons to do it.”
Pujols enjoyed a comfortable night at third, but it did not help him turn things around at the plate as he finished 0 for 4. The 31-year-old, a career .329 hitter, is averaging just .259 this season.
MARLINS 2, METS 1, 11 INNINGS
In New York, Florida pitcher Burke Badenhop got just his second career hit to drive in the winning run with two outs in the 11th inning, as Florida edged New York.
Badenhop (1-0) came to bat after escaping a two-on, two-out jam when he was pitching in the bottom of the 10th. With runners on first and second, Badenhop lined a single up the middle off Ryota Igarashi (2-1) for his first hit since 2008 and his second career RBI.
Leo Nunez pitched the bottom half of the 11th for his 15th save, despite allowing a two-out triple to pitcher Jonathon Niese — pinch-hitting because the Mets were out of position players.
Mike Stanton hit a tying homer in the seventh and Omar Infate had three hits for Florida.
ROCKIES 7, GIANTS 4
In Denver, Colorado, Carlos Gonzalez capped a five-run sixth-inning with a three-run homer to power Colorado over San Francisco.
Seth Smith also homered off the uncharacteristically wild Giants starter Tim Lincecum (3-4), who set up the Rockies’ big inning with a throwing error on a potential double-play that led to four unearned runs.
Lincecum allowed seven runs and walked six in 5-2/3 innings.
The Rockies turned four double plays.
Clay Mortensen (1-0) pitched six solid innings for his first win in a Rockies uniform and Huston Street closed out the ninth inning for his 13th save in 14 tries.
REDS 7, CUBS 4
In Cincinnati, Ohio, Jonny Gomes hit his first homer in nearly a month, completing Cincinnati’s seven-run rally that defeated Chicago.
The big inning ended the night for Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano (4-2), who had won his previous 10 starts on the road, matching the second-longest such streak in Cubs history. He held the Reds scoreless for six innings, then fell apart.
The Reds sent 12 batters to the plate, matching their biggest inning this season. Scott Rolen’s fly was misfielded and turned into a double that tied the game 4-4. Marcos Mateo let in a run with a wild pitch that nearly hit Gomes, who then hit a two-run shot.