Cardinals 10, Rockies 3
Colby Rasmus broke out of his funk in style.
The St. Louis shortstop went 4 for 5 and drove in three runs with two triples and the Cardinals kept Ubaldo Jimenez winless this season with a 10-3 win over the sinking Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
Rasmus, mired in an 0-for-20 funk coming in, matched his career high with four hits. He singled his first two times up, then broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth with an RBI triple off Jimenez. He added a two-run triple in the seventh off Matt Daley before grounding into a double play his last time up.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he sensed a breakout in Rasmus during batting practice.
''He's had an outstanding year, but he was in a stretch where he was not quite right. I watched him today in batting practice and he was right on the ball, and it carried into the game,'' La Russa said.
Rasmus, who was 0 for 18 in the first six games of the Cardinals' nine-game trip, said it wasn't like he deciphered any secrets in the hitting cage.
''This game is crazy sometimes,'' he said. ''I didn't change a whole lot. Really, all I thought about was taking my hands back as far as I could, and just swing and hit it and try to drive it.''
Jake Westbrook (5-3) wasn't particularly sharp, but still improved to 3-0 all-time against Colorado, giving up three earned runs on five hits over five innings in his first appearance at Coors Field since 2003.
Jimenez, last year's NL All-Star starter, fell to 0-5 and watched his ERA jump to 5.86.
With their fourth straight loss at home, the Rockies fell two games below .500 for the first time in more than a year. They have lost 18 of 25 games this month.
A year ago, Jimenez stormed into June with a 10-1 record and a minuscule 0.75 ERA, drawing comparisons to Bob Gibson, circa 1968.
He'll head into June this year still looking for that elusive first win.
''I don't even want to think about it, but it's hard, especially the kind of year that I had last year. But there's nothing I can do,'' Jimenez said. ''The only thing I can do is get ready for my next start. I'm not going to be looking back ... I just want to keep working and hopefully for my next start give my team a chance to win.''
Rasmus' first triple sailed over the head of center fielder Eric Young Jr., a former second baseman who was called up from the minors before the game to give the Rockies' struggling offense a spark. Young was subbing for Dexter Fowler, who very well might have chased down Rasmus' drive that sparked a three-run rally.
Nobody could have caught up to Rasmus' second triple, though, which went into the right-field corner and scored two more runs. Rasmus tagged up and scored on Yadier Molina's sacrifice fly to make it 9-3.
''Tonight was a big night,'' Rasmus said, ''and I've just got to come out again and try to do it tomorrow.''
Jimenez has struggled with his fastball command all season, but the one thing he was doing just like last year was holding hitters in check. Opponents were batting just .212 off him coming in, but he surrendered career-high 12 hits and six earned runs over six up-and-down innings.
Jimenez, who acknowledged recently that it wasn't just the cracked cuticle in his pitching thumb that bothered him this season but also a hip flexor and strained groin in spring training, was coming off his best performance of the year, a two-hitter in a 3-1 loss at Milwaukee.
The Rockies took a 2-1 lead in the second when Ty Wigginton hit a run-scoring single and scored on Chris Iannetta's double, but Jimenez gave up five hits in the third, when Pujols and Allen Craig had RBI singles. Jimenez escaped further trouble by picking off one runner and stranding two more.
The Rockies tied it at 3 in the bottom half when Young sped home from second base on Carlos Gonzalez's rather routine single to left. Colorado loaded the bases, but Wigginton struck out and Ryan Spilborghs hit into a fielder's choice, and the Rockies wouldn't get another hit.
''I got out of a big jam there, bases loaded, one out, and the offense kind of took over from there, which was great,'' Westbrook said.
The Cardinals matched a season high with 19 hits.
Notes: Cardinals LHP Brian Tallet left with a 3-2 count on the only batter he faced in the eighth. The Cardinals said he had left elbow tightness. ... Molina came out of the game late with a sore foot. La Russa said it was precautionary. ... RHP Bruce Billings made his major league debut for Colorado and allowed a run on five hits over two innings.
Arnie Stapleton can be reached at http://twitter.com/arniestapleton