The Philadelphia Phillies turned a pitchers’ duel into a blowout when a late surge handed St Louis a 10-2 defeat as the Cardinals made an inauspicious start to life without Albert Pujols on Tuesday.
The Phillies (46-28) scored just once in the first seven innings against St Louis starter Kyle McClellan before springing to life in the eighth, overturning a 2-1 deficit by scoring nine runs to feast on the Cardinals’ wobbly bullpen.
“The eighth inning was so ridiculous it was hard to describe,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa told reporters. “It completely got away from us.”
St Louis needed five relievers and recorded four walks and hit two batsmen during the disastrous inning that sealed the Cardinals’ (40-34) fate in their first game since three-times NL MVP Pujols fractured his left wrist on Sunday.
Pujols will miss an estimated six weeks.
Philadelphia’s Ben Francisco hit the go-ahead run-scoring single to give the visitors a 3-2 lead in the eighth, while Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard piled on RBI hits.
“I’ve never seen an inning with that many pitching changes, it was kind of crazy,” Francisco said. “It was nice for us to get a big inning like that, we haven’t been scoring in bunches like that.”
Carlos Ruiz went 4-for-4 at the plate for the league-leading Phillies, who got another strong pitching performance from ace Roy Halladay.
Halladay (9-3) was pitching for his Major League-leading 10th win of the season, but had to settle for a no-decision after allowing one run in six innings.
Michael Stutes pitched the seventh and was credited with the win. He allowed a run in the inning and St Louis also scored in the fifth.
AP, MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN
Zack Greinke struck out 10 over seven innings to direct Milwaukee to a 5-1 win over Tampa Bay.
Greinke (7-2) struck out at least a batter in every inning, including the side in the third, and gave up one run.
Yuniesky Betancourt homered in the second off Rays rookie Jeremy Hellickson (7-6) and Ryan Braun hit a two-run single in the seventh.
Tampa Bay lost its first game in five, while Milwaukee remains the only team in the majors not to lose consecutive home games this year.
BRAVES 5, BLUE JAYS 1
In Atlanta, Brian McCann hit a two-run homer that powered Atlanta past Toronto.
Atlanta took a 4-1 lead in the third on McCann’s 12th homer and Alex Gonzalez’s RBI double off Toronto rookie Zach Stewart (0-1), who allowed five runs and three walks in 3-2/3 innings.
Jason Heyward had an RBI single and Braves starter Mike Minor (1-2) ended a nine-start winless streak, allowing one run and striking out a season-best eight in seven innings.
Atlanta has won three in a row, while the Blue Jays have scored just two runs in losing three straight on the road.
ROCKIES 4, INDIANS 3
In Cleveland, Seth Smith’s second homer of the game snapped a ninth-inning tie and gave Colorado victory over Cleveland.
Smith connected off Cleveland closer Chris Perez (2-3), hitting a 2-2 pitch into the right-field seats for his fourth career multihomer game.
Jason Giambi had three hits for Colorado, which has won six of seven and moved over .500 for the first time in a month.
The Rockies held Cleveland hitless until the sixth and reliever Matt Belisle (5-2) worked one inning for the win. Huston Street pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 22nd save in 24 chances.