PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Jason Simontacchi scrapped the slider and
found better results.
The rookie right-hander allowed two hits over seven strong
innings and Scott Rolen hit a two-run double as the St. Louis
Cardinals snapped Philadelphia's five-game win streak, beating the
Phillies 5-1 on Saturday.
"I got away from working on my fastball and changeup and it
hurt me,'' said Simontacchi, who had a 12.67 ERA in his previous
four starts. "I'd been putting too much attention on my No. 3
pitch and it wasn't working.
"I've spent the last bullpen session working exclusively on my
fastball and changeup,'' he said.
Simontacchi (9-4) gave up one run -- Jeremy Giambi's homer in the
seventh -- in his best start of the season. He pitched the NL
Central leaders to their eighth win in 11 games.
"When we get the pitching, we're tough to beat,'' Cardinals
manager Tony La Russa said.
Simontacchi established his fastball early and kept Phillies
hitters puzzled with changeups mixed in. He retired 21 of the 24
batters he faced and struck out a career-high seven en route to his
second straight victory.
"I was able to get ahead of the hitters quickly, that was the
key,'' Simontacchi said.
Simontacchi set down 18 of the next 19 batters before Giambi
connected for his 11th homer. He threw 103 pitches, 62 for strikes.
Phillies manager Larry Bowa was impressed, "He kept us
off-balance through the entire game.''
Rolen, traded from the Phillies to St. Louis on July 29, was
greeted by a chorus of boos, mixed in with some cheering, from the
Veterans Stadium crowd of 20,242 each time he came to the plate.
The attendance was 10,000 less than the previous night when the
fans booed unmercifully.
"I think more people came to watch baseball this time,'' Rolen
said. ''(Friday night), people came to welcome me back.''
Rolen went 1-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch. He is
batting .480 (12-for-25) during a seven-game hit streak.
St. Louis took a 1-0 lead in the second off David Coggin (2-4)
on Edgar Renteria's RBI sacrifice fly.
The Cardinals broke open with a three-run third inning, capped
by Rolen's two-out, two-run double.
With two outs, Rolen lined a smash past third baseman Placido
Polanco and into the left-field corner, easily scoring Vina and
Coggin, who made his first start since May 25, allowed four runs
and six hits in four innings.
"It's a little more difficult at the start of the game settling
in,'' said Coggin, who had a 2.79 ERA in 30 appearances out of the
bullpen. "I tried to keep that mentality like I was coming out of
Rolen wasn't the lone target of boos from the crowd as RF
J.D. Drew also felt the wrath. Drew, who didn't play on Friday, was
back in the starting lineup. Drew was the No. 2 overall pick in the
1997 draft by the Phillies and refused to sign, drawing major
criticism by Philly fans. ... Giambi has 20 home runs between
Oakland and Philadelphia this season. ... The Cardinals are 9-9
since the Rolen trade. ... Simontacchi is 3-3 with three
no-decisions in his last nine starts.