Pujols' pinch HR leaves Pirates 1 short of record - KMOV.com

Pujols' pinch HR leaves Pirates 1 short of record

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Albert Pujols lead off the 10th inning with his second career pinch-hit home run, and the St. Louis Cardinals withstood Ross Ohlendorf's dominating start to beat Pittsburgh 2-1 on Saturday night and leave the Pirates one loss short of an unwanted record.

Ohlendorf allowed only an unearned run over eight innings and became the 40th major league pitcher to strike out the side on nine pitches in an inning, but didn't figure in the decision.

The Pirates lost their ninth in a row and 81st of the season and, with one more loss, would become the first team in any of the four major American pro sports to have 17 consecutive losing seasons.

Pujols, whose game-breaking three-run shot carried the Cardinals to a 14-7 victory Friday, hit a 1-2 pitch from Matt Capps (3-8) far beyond the center-field wall for his major league-high 44th homer. Pujols' only other pinch-hit homer came June 5, 2008, against Washington.

Blake Hawksworth (2-0) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth for the victory after starter Mitchell Boggs gave up one run in seven innings. Ryan Franklin finished up in the 10th for his 37th save in 39 opportunities.

Ohlendorf struck out Khalil Greene, Julio Lugo and Jason LaRue in the seventh, the second time in the game he struck out the side, and had so much movement on his pitches that catcher Ryan Doumit dropped the third strike on each batter. Doumit threw to first each time to get the out.

Ohlendorf, 8-2 at home with no losses there this season since May 29, struck out a career-high 11 and walked one.

A.J. Burnett of the Yankees is the only other major league pitcher to strike out the side on nine pitches this season, accomplishing it June 20 against Marlins. Of the 40 pitchers to perform the feat, only Hall of Famers Lefty Grove, Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax did it twice. The only other Pirates pitcher to do it was right-hander Jeff Robinson against the Cubs on Sept. 7, 1987.

It might have helped that Ohlendorf was facing a watered-down Cardinals lineup in which manager Tony La Russa didn't start Pujols, Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, Mark DeRosa and Brendan Ryan, with Holliday sitting down for the first time in 39 games since being traded to the Cardinals.

Troy Glaus, out until last week while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, made his first start since last Sept. 28 at first, and La Russa plans to start him again Sunday at third.

The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Lastings Milledge's run-scoring double, but might have had a bigger inning if it weren't for left fielder Rick Ankiel's excellent running catch of Steve Pearce's drive toward the left-center gap. Ankiel ranged far to his right to run down what looked to be an extra-base hit, and the relay throw doubled Milledge off second.

The potential big inning lost proved significant when the Cardinals tied it in the sixth despite getting only one hit, Skip Schumaker's leadoff single. Schumaker advanced on Ohlendorf's balk and scored when third baseman Andy LaRoche misplayed Ryan Ludwick's ground ball for an error.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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