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Updated: Wednesday, August 20, 2003 1:32 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
Pittsburgh Pirates
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
5 9 0
St. Louis Cardinals
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
13 13 0
W Eldred (6-4)
L Beimel (1-3)
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ST LOUIS 13, PITTSBURGH 5
 

ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- Scott Rolen and Edgar Renteria helped the St. Louis Cardinals overcome the absence of Albert Pujols .

With Pujols beginning a two-game suspension, Rolen and Renteria played key roles in a 10-run eighth inning as the Cardinals rallied for a 13-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates .

Pujols missed Sunday's series finale at Philadelphia with flu-like symptons, then dropped his appeal of a two-game suspension for his role in an altercation against San Diego on July 13.

The Cardinals appeared to feel the loss of their best hitter as they trailed, 5-3, after seven innings. But they sent 14 men to the plate and collected seven hits in the eighth.

St. Louis had seven hits through seven innings, but consecutive singles by Orlando Palmeiro and Renteria off reliever Joe Beimel (1-3) got things going in the eighth. After Jim Edmonds walked, Julian Tavarez came on to face Rolen, who crushed a 1-0 pitch to the warning track in left-center field.

Rolen collected a career-high six RBI and Renteria went 4-for-5. After St. Louis put the game out of reach, Renteria had a two-run double and Rolen capped the inning with a two-run base hit.

Rolen's six RBI were the most by a Cardinal since Mark McGwire had seven at Philadelphia on May 18, 2000. The most productive night of Rolen's career also helped St. Louis move into second place in the National League Central and within 4 1/2 games of Philadelphia for the wild card.

"It was a big win for us," Rolen said. "I'm happy about driving in six runs. It felt like they were big runs. I knew that it was a big inning when the first two guys got on. That was our chance to get back in the game and that was my biggest at-bat in the game."

"It turned the evening into a great one," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa added. "We had a couple of great swings of the bat. (Rolen) was in a good position with the bases loaded."

Tavarez threw 26 pitches and surrendered four hits, three walks and seven runs. The righthander, who converted two saves over the weekend against Milwaukee, retired just one batter before he was replaced by Pat Mahomes .

After the Cardinals loaded the bases for the second time in the eighth, pinch hitter So Taguchi singled in Rolen and Tino Martinez . Rookie Bo Hart followed with an RBI double for a 9-5 lead.

"All the balls they hit, they hit in the right spot," Tavarez said. "I was a little wild up there. But every one they hit was in the right spot. It was one of those days where everything went wrong for you."

After Hart scored on Renteria's double, Mahomes struck out Edmonds but gave up a double to Rolen.

St. Louis starter Jeff Fassero struggled through five innings and Esteban Yan gave up one run and three hits in two frames. Cal Eldred (6-4) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win.

Steve Kline tossed a perfect ninth as the Cardinals opened an important nine-game homestand and snapping a three-game losing streak. The 10-run inning was their first since September 23 against Arizona.

The Pirates jumped on Fassero for four runs as Jeff Reboulet hit a solo shot in the first inning and Craig Wilson added a three-run blast in the fifth for a 4-2 advantage.

Pittsburgh starter Brian Meadows allowed three runs and six hits in five-plus innings. Mike Gonzalez got two outs in the sixth and Mark Corey retired all four batters he faced before Beimel entered.

Rolen, who has five career five-RBI games, opened his big night with a run-scoring single in the first. Martinez, who stranded two runners in the opening inning, gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead with a solo shot in the fourth and had a RBI groundout in the sixth that brought the Cardinals within 5-3.


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