DENVER (AP) -
was throwing strikes again.
Only this time it wasn't from the mound, but from deep center.
Ankiel threw out two runners at third and
pitched into the ninth inning in the longest outing of his career, helping the St. Louis Cardinals hold on for a 6-5 win over
on Tuesday night.
Ankiel, once a promising pitching prospect for the Cardinals, was showing off his laser of a left arm all evening.
in the first inning as Taveras tried to tag up from second.
But that was merely a warm-up act. In the eighth, Ankiel picked up the ball off the warning track and cut down
at third as he tried to stretch a double into a triple.
The Cardinals clubhouse went bonkers, jumping out of the dugout to congratulate him as he made his way in.
Even after the game, Cardinals manager
Tony La Russa
was still in awe over Ankiel's throws.
''I don't believe he did it,'' La Russa said. ''I want to see the replays. I can't remember a dugout getting a bigger kick
out of something. Who could believe it?''
Ankiel was more pleased with his throws than his sixth home run of the season, a solo shot in the eighth.
''I was pumped,'' Ankiel said of his first two outfield assists of the season.
Not nearly as pumped as Looper, though.
''That was outstanding,'' Looper said. ''The second throw was the best one I've seen. It was pretty amazing he could throw
it from there, for sure.''
Looper (5-1) was two outs away from his first career complete game, and then was pulled after back-to-back singles by
and pinch hitter
picked up his first save of the season, but it didn't come easy. After striking out
, Franklin gave up a two-run double to
and a run-scoring double to
to fly out to Ankiel.
''It was pretty nerve-racking,'' said Looper, who allowed four runs and 10 hits in 8 1-3 innings. ''I had the game in hand
and gave up a couple of base hits there in the ninth and almost end up losing it.''
Looper also was pretty handy with the bat, going 2-for-3 to raise his average to a team-leading .385.
''He still looks bad up there, but he gets it done,'' Franklin said. ''Impressive.''
That could describe
' streak as well, as he's now reached base with either a hit, walk or hit by pitch in 34 straight games after going 1-for-5
with a double.
The Elias Sports Bureau said Pujols' string is the longest in the majors to start a season since 1999 when
reached in 53 consecutive contests.
(37) also had long streaks to begin that season.
(2-3) had another shaky outing, getting yanked early after surrendering five runs and nine hits in 2 2-3 innings.
Redman allowed 10 runs in the first inning during his last start against the
Los Angeles Dodgers
on April 26, before settling down and finishing with five scoreless frames.
All five of the Cardinals' runs off Redman came with two outs.
''It's not what we need,'' said Rockies manager
, whose team has now dropped 13 of the last 16. ''You like to see a guy like Mark get it done. The game is hard for us right
now. There's no lack of effort. We're just coming up short.''
Ankiel flamed out as a pitcher after he struggled with control problems, officially retiring from the mound in March 2005
to concentrate on becoming an outfielder.
He still gets to throw strikes - just from farther away.
''You have to tip your hat and say, 'Wow. Wow,''' Hurdle said.
Notes: Cardinals OF
was 4-for-4 with two doubles. ... Iannetta finished with two hits, including his third homer of the season. ... Rockies right-hander
underwent a four-hour surgery Tuesday to remove blood clots in his right hand. Wells' condition will be re-evaluated Wednesday.
No date has been set for his return. ... Cardinals 3B
broke out of an 0-for-21 slump with a single in the third.