Cardinals 5, Rays 3

Colby Rasmus’ home run set off fireworks on and off the

field.

Rasmus hit a three-run shot during a wild eighth inning that

featured four ejections, leading the St. Louis Cardinals past the

Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 on Friday night.

”Colby’s got so much talent,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa

said. ”When he gets into a game, a lot of good things happen. If

he can keep that up, good at-bats, what a huge asset he would

be.”

Jake Westbrook gave up two hits in seven scoreless innings for

St. Louis, which has won four straight.

Rasmus, who also had a run-scoring groundout during the second

inning, connected against J.P. Howell for his fourth homer in the

last seven games and No. 9 on the season. The drive to right led to

three ejections.

Howell was thrown out by plate umpire Vic Carapazza after the

left-hander threw his glove to the ground after the homer and also

spiked the new ball tossed to him by the umpire.

”The one he was giving me wasn’t good enough. I wanted a new

ball, and he took it personal,” Howell said. ”We’re supposed to

take it but he can’t take it, and if he’s allowed to ring me,

that’s the way it is. They’re human too, and you gotta move on, and

I know he’ll be better down the road.”

Howell walked toward the plate area and had to be restrained.

Rasmus crossed the plate while the arguing continued.

”I didn’t think his beef was with me, you know,” Rasmus said.

”I understand. I know the game is tough. Maybe he’s falling on

some hard times. Just mad at the world or whatever it may be. Some

things didn’t go his way. I just hit the ball, run around, touch

the plate, and take my happy self back to the dugout.”

First base umpire Doug Eddings ejected Rays pitcher David Price

and reserve infielder Elliot Johnson for comments made from the

dugout.

”I was just trying to defend my teammate,” Johnson said. ”It

just seemed like (umpire Dana) DeMuth came in from second base and

it seemed like he kind of lost control of himself in that

situation. It just seemed like he was yelling at J.P. and I was

just trying to defend him. I wasn’t swearing at the man or

name-calling or anything like that.”

Earlier in the eighth, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was ejected

by Carapazza for arguing from the dugout after Lance Berkman drew a

two-out walk on 3-2 pitch.

DeMuth said Howell was tossed for arguing balls and strikes, and

the glove spike got the umpires’ attention.

”The home plate asked him, ‘Was that directed toward me?”’

DeMuth said. ”I’m glad it only end up with (four ejections). It

was headed for more.”

Westbrook (7-4) struck out seven and walked three in his first

victory since June 7 at Houston. The right-hander was 0-1 with a

6.61 ERA in his previous three starts.

”Outstanding,” La Russa said. ”Just kept going after them. He

was in command of his delivery, his emotions, his

concentration.”

Tampa Bay scored three times in the eighth. Evan Longoria had a

run-scoring double and Matt Joyce added a two-run homer against

Lance Lynn. Longoria has driven in 14 runs over his last seven

games.

”I thought we were kind of flat at the beginning of the game,”

Maddon said. ”I was kind of annoyed with that. We just had a day

off Thursday and we didn’t have a day off listed for Friday, so I

was a little upset with that.”

Fernando Salas pitched the ninth for his 14th save.

The Cardinals grabbed a 2-0 lead against Wade Davis (7-6) in the

second inning. Yadier Molina hit an RBI single to snap an 0-for-13

slide.

Davis allowed six hits in seven innings. He had won his previous

three starts.

Westbrook worked out of two-on, two-out jams in the second and

third, then struck out Sam Fuld with a runner on third to end the

fourth.

”It took me a little while to get into a groove,” Westbrook

said. ”Once I did, I made some pitches early on when I needed

to.”

The Cardinals are playing just their second-ever road series

against Tampa Bay. St. Louis swept the previous three-game set at

Tropicana Field in June 2005.

NOTES: Maddon spent most of Thursday’s off day on his couch.

”From 11:30 (a.m.) to 1 o’clock in the morning … that is not an

exaggeration,” Maddon said. ”I felt like I’d been in a fight, so

I just decided to lay down. I watched every game that was on, and

then I finished up with some Dave Chappelle movies. Hysterical.”

… La Russa, a native of nearby Tampa, expects to have more than

50 family members and friends in attendance at each game in the

three-game series. … St. Louis LF Matt Holliday doubled in five

at-bats as the DH. He has some aches and pain stemming from

cold-like symptoms.