Rolen's second error in two innings allowed the go-ahead run to
score in the 10th, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis
Cardinals 3-2 on Thursday night.
"I had a ball hit to me that I should have fielded and
didn't," Rolen said. "I don't feel good about it. I was right in
front of it and I should have made the play."
His last two-error game was April 14, 2001, in Atlanta.
Oliver Perez had 10 strikeouts and allowed only an unearned run
in seven innings for the Pirates, who have won nine of 12 and have
a four-game winning streak against the NL Central leaders.
Mesa (5-1) has 33 saves in 38 chances but has struggled
recently, giving up three homers and eight runs in his last six
innings spanning four appearances.
Rolen has seven errors this season. The five-time Gold Glove
third baseman also dropped a foul popup by Rob Mackowiak in the
ninth, but Mackowiak ended up striking out.
"That was crucial," Rolen said, jokingly. "I didn't remember
having two errors."
The Pirates have beaten the Cardinals four straight times for
the first time since 1997, when they won five straight from June 5
to July 6.
The game was delayed by rain for 72 minutes before the bottom of
Tike Redman drew a walk from Steve Kline (2-2) with one out in
the 10th, Jason Kendall singled to put runners at the corners and
the left-handed hitting Daryle Ward was walked intentionally by the
left-handed Kline to load the bases.
Rolen muffed pinch-hitter Jose Bautista's sharp grounder to
third, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
Josh Grabow worked the 10th for his first save.
Tony Womack had four hits to match his career best and Albert
Pujols extended his hitting streak to 10 games for the Cardinals,
who have the best record in the major leagues at 78-42 and are
32-10 since they were swept in a three-game series at Pittsburgh
June 28-30. St. Louis has lost consecutive games for the first time
since July 23-24 against the Giants.
Sanders' homer kept alive Jason Marquis' nine-game winning
streak over 14 starts since his last loss on May 26 to the Pirates
in St. Louis. Marquis gave up two runs on five hits in eight
innings and recovered after a slow start, retiring 17 of his last
Perez struck out Larry Walker all three times. He reached double
figures in strikeouts for the eighth time this season and 13th time
in his career, and walked only two.
"Both pitchers played great games," Pirates manager Lloyd
McClendon said. "It was too bad the rain delay happened.
"There was no way I was going to let Perez go back out there,
no matter how many pitches he had thrown."
Jason Bay had a sacrifice fly off Marquis in the second and Ward
doubled and scored on Craig Wilson's RBI single in the third for
the Pirates. The Cardinals scored in the third when Womack, after
his second straight infield hit, scored from second when second
baseman Jose Castillo's double-play relay was in the dirt.
The Pirates played the game under protest after Perez was cited
for an illegal pitch in the second. Plate umpire Joe West said
Perez altered his motion on a 3-2 pitch to Sanders that appeared to
be over the middle of the plate.
"The umpire told me I stopped my delivery," Perez said. "I
didn't know what I did. I was able to put it out of my mind."
Pujols had a single in three at-bats and is batting .372
(16-for-43) during his hitting streak.
Cardinals LHP Rick Ankiel, rehabbing from elbow surgery
that forced him to miss all of last season, struck out five and
allowed two hits and an unearned run in four innings for Double-A
Tennessee. Ankiel, who was plagued by wildness in the majors in
2000 and '01, walked one. ... Womack also singled in the eighth and
is 8-for-13 in his last four games. ... The Cardinals are expected
to recall RHP Al Reyes from Triple-A Memphis on Friday to take the
roster spot of Dan Haren, who will start the first game of a
day-night doubleheader and then be optioned back to the minors.