ST. LOUIS — The Philadelphia Phillies thought it was unnecessary to hold this runner on first base. Then Jake Westbrook took off.
For the second straight game, Westbrook gave the St. Louis Cardinals an all-around effort, working seven solid innings and contributing his second career steal in a key spot of an 11-3 victory on Wednesday night.
“No, it wasn’t on my own,” Westbrook said. “They were playing behind me so I got a decent jump and it worked out. It’s always fun when you’re on the bases, it makes you feel like you’re doing something.”
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said rookie first baseman Darin Ruf was too far off the bag.
“You just don’t back up and let him see where you’re at, you kind of stay back and let him feel you or let him see you, then you move slowly back” Manuel said. “He got a lead and a running jump and he took off.
“It was a heads-up play on his part and the first base coach’s part, but at same time that was a mistake.”
Westbrook (7-4) entered with a career .133 average that’s enhanced by his first career three-hit game in the Cardinals’ first game after the All-Star break. He helped knock out John Lannan (2-4) when he drew a two-out walk in the fourth, stole second and scored on Carpenter’s single for a 4-0 lead.
Matt Adams had two hits and three RBIs and Shane Robinson’s three-run triple in the fifth was his third hit of the game for the Cardinals, who are 4-1 since the All-Star break and lead the majors with a 61-37 record. They scored in four straight innings, totaling nine runs on 12 of their 16 hits from the second through fifth.
Allen Craig had two hits and a walk to give him 16 hits during a nine-game hitting streak. He’s second in the league in hitting at .337 behind teammate Yadier Molina, who had three hits and an RBI and is batting .339.
John Mayberry had two hits and an RBI for the Phillies, who were without top run producer Domonic Brown and have lost four in a row. Brown is being evaluated for concussion-like symptoms and the team expects to know Thursday whether he’ll be placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list. Right fielder Delmon Young threw out a runner at the plate in the second to thwart a sacrifice fly bid.
“It’s kind of an ugly game not to get an error on the board,” Manuel said. “It seemed like everything we did wasn’t good.”
Westbrook is 2 for 2 in his career on steals, getting his first last season, although he noted the first one came with runners on first and third and his steal of second came without a throw.
“My focus is completely on Carpenter,” Lannan said. “I had two strikes so I was more focused on executing my pitch. If he didn’t steal, who would have known what would happen?”
Westbrook has scored four runs this year, matching his total from the last two seasons combined, but didn’t want to get too carried away.
“I’m a pitcher, that’s what I do,” Westbrook said. “I was able to throw the ball pretty well and give us a chance.”
After retiring the side in order in the first, Lannan surrendered eight hits and two walks the next three innings. The biggest hit was Adams’ two-run single on an 0-2 count with the bases loaded in the second.
“I try to see the ball as long as I can and just battle,” Adams said. “I just dial in my focus more.”
Lannan worked eight innings and allowed a run each of his two previous starts. He was pitching on 10 days’ rest.
The Phillies were held to one hit before bunching three singles the first four at-bats of the fifth, with Carlos Ruiz getting the RBI, but pinch hitter John McDonald grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Robinson’s bases-clearing triple capped a five-run fifth against rookie J.C. Ramirez that broke the game open. Robinson’s sinking liner bounced in front of and then over diving center fielder Mayberry and the Cardinals also had three doubles in the inning with Adams and David Freese getting RBIs.
Manuel said Mayberry has “got to keep the ball in front of him.”
“He can’t dive,” the manager added. “I talked to him about it, but he knows.”
Brock Peterson got his first career hit on an RBI single in two-run eighth for St. Louis.
NOTES: Lance Lynn (11-5, 4.13) has lost consecutive starts while giving up 10 runs on 17 hits in 9 1-3 innings entering the finale against Kyle Kendrick (9-6, 3.94). Kendrick is 5-1 with a 2.72 career ERA against St. Louis. … The Cardinals scored on a pair of softly-hit balls in the third, Carpenter’s leadoff infield hit and Molina’s two-out bloop RBI single. … A sellout crowd of 44,317 was the 18th sellout and put the Cardinals over 2 million attendance for the 18th straight season. … Tony Cruz had an infield hit in the eighth in his first appearance since the break for St. Louis.