Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

St. Louis leads 1-0 (as of 8/21)

Game 1: Tuesday, August 21
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St. Louis5
Game 2: Wednesday, August 22
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St. Louis6
Game 3: Thursday, August 23
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St. Louis3

Marlins 2

(56-70, 29-32 away)

Cardinals 5

(60-62, 31-27 home)

8:10 PM ET, August 21, 2007

Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri 

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FLA 001010000 2 11 2
STL 00000104 - 5 12 2

W: T. Percival (3-0)

L: A. Benitez (2-8)

S: J. Isringhausen (24)

Ramirez error dooms Benitez, Marlins vs. Cards

A CLOSER LOOK
• Summary: Down 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, the Cardinals rallied for four runs en route to a 5-2 victory over the Marlins.

Albert
Pujols
• Unsung hero: Albert Pujols homered for the fourth straight game, connecting in the sixth inning to extended his RBI streak to six games for the defending World Series champions.

• Did you see that? In the eighth, Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez committed a throwing error that allowed Juan Encarnacion, who should have been out at first to end the inning, to take second. Yadier Molina then hit the game-tying RBI triple off reliever Armando Benitez, who also allowed Aaron Miles' go-ahead single and Ryan Ludwick's two-run homer.

• Caught stealing: Molina threw out Ramirez, who has 39 steals and has been caught 13 times, in the first. St. Louis catchers have allowed an NL-low 44 steals, 17 fewer than next-best Colorado.

• Figure this: The Marlins have homered in 21 of their last 23 games and have 25 overall in August after leading the NL with 39 in July.

• Quotable: "I don't think mine was as big as the guys before me. I'm just pretty fired up about that comeback win." -- Ludwick on his home run

-- ESPN.com news services

Cardinals 5, Marlins 2

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Another home run from Albert Pujols got the St. Louis Cardinals close. Opportunistic play put them over the top.

Pujols homered for the fourth straight game and St. Louis scored four runs in the eighth inning to beat the slumping Florida Marlins 5-2 on Tuesday night.

"They gave us a chance to do it, and we came through," said Aaron Miles, who drove in the go-ahead run. "We're coming around."

Yadier Molina knocked in the tying run in the eighth, when St. Louis was aided by two crucial errors. Ryan Ludwick's two-run shot capped the rally, all against Armando Benitez (2-8).

"I don't think mine was as big as the guys before me," Ludwick said. "I'm just pretty fired up about that comeback win."

Pujols connected in the sixth and extended his RBI streak to six games for the Cardinals, who began the night three games out of first place in the NL Central. It's his longest homer streak since another four-game run from April 15-18, 2006.

"It's good because I'm helping my team to win," Pujols said. "That's what it's all about. No matter how many home runs you hit, you just need to hit them at the right time."

Miguel Cabrera homered for the Marlins, who have lost a season-worst seven in a row -- one more than their previous worst from July 23-29. Cabrera did not start on Monday after arriving late to the ballpark for an afternoon game.

Rookie pitcher Daniel Barone befuddled the Cardinals for 5 2/3 innings with the help of three double-play balls, allowing one run and seven hits. His biggest out early was getting Pujols on an inning-ending double play in the third, but Pujols made amends in his next at-bat.

"He can hit it far, there's no doubt about that," Barone said. "That was a missile out of here."

Benitez retired Pujols and Jim Edmonds to start the eighth before shortstop Hanley Ramirez fielded Juan Encarnacion's routine grounder and then looped a throw well over the head of first baseman Jason Wood for a two-base error -- his 20th of the year.

Molina followed with an RBI single to tie it and went to third on a throwing error by right fielder Jeremy Hermida. Miles followed with the go-ahead hit and Ludwick added his 11th homer. None of the runs were earned.

"It was my fault," Ramirez said. "I was maybe a little too comfortable."

Troy Percival (3-0) allowed one hit and struck out two in a scoreless eighth. Jason Isringhausen finished for his 24th save in 26 chances.

Cabrera hit his 30th homer off Adam Wainwright in the fifth to put the Marlins ahead 2-0. He just missed a second homer in the third on a foul liner that banged off the facade on the second deck before he grounded into a double play.

The Marlins left the bases loaded in the first and stranded two in the third against Wainwright, who labored through six innings and 108 pitches. He allowed two runs and nine hits, with seven strikeouts and two walks.

Florida capitalized on Edmonds' error in center plus a mental error committed by first baseman Pujols to score its first run in the third. Josh Willingham went from first to third on Mike Jacobs' two-out hit, took off for home when Edmonds bobbled the ball and scored when Pujols seemed surprised by Edmonds' strong relay and threw late and wide to the plate, forcing Molina to lunge for it.

Pujols went 10 days between homers before beginning his long-ball binge. He has 29 homers on the year, and six RBIs in the last six games. He lined a 2-0 pitch from Barone off the same facade Cabrera struck in the third, only this one was well fair.

Game notes


Cardinals catchers have allowed an NL-low 44 steals, 17 fewer than next-best Colorado. Molina threw out Ramirez, who has 39 steals and has been caught 13 times, in the first. ... The Marlins have homered in 21 of their last 23 games and have 25 overall in August after leading the NL with 39 in July. ... Tony La Russa of the Cardinals managed his 1,409th game, passing Bucky Harris for third on the career list. ... Matt Treanor matched his career best with three hits for Florida.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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