Dan Haren capped off his week in St. Louis by showing his former team what they’re missing.
The All-Star starter gave up four hits in eight innings while striking out eight as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Cardinals 4-2 Saturday night. In the process, Haren lowered his major league-leading ERA to 1.96.
Haren came up with Cardinals, but was traded with other prospects to Oakland after the 2004 season for Mark Mulder. He knows several of the Cardinals‘ younger players and enjoys going after them. Not that Haren needs any additional incentive.
“Dan Haren brings out the best every five days,” Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s pitched that game a ton.”
Haren said he feels like a member of the community after spending the week in St. Louis. He arrived Sunday as a member of the National League All-Star team and stayed in town.
“It was very nice, being here this whole week, literally,” he said. “The fans have been outstanding to me. I can’t even tell you how many times they told me they wanted me back. It makes me feel good.”
The Cardinals probably wouldn’t mind having him back, too.
“What I noticed is that he didn’t throw a lot of balls over the heart of the plate,” the Cardinals‘ Brendan Ryan said. “He never even used the splitter against me, and that’s probably his best pitch.”
After giving up an RBI single to Albert Pujols with one out in the third, Haren retired the next 15 batters.
Haren also helped himself at the plate, driving in a run with a bases-loaded walk in the eighth. Chad Qualls worked the ninth, allowing a pinch-hit RBI single to Joe Thurston before holding on for his 17th save in 21 chances.
Miguel Montero matched a career high for hits with four and drove in two runs for the Diamondbacks. He’s 6 for 9 over the first two games of the series, homering in both contests, and has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games.
Josh Whitesell drove in the other run for the Diamondbacks with an RBI single.
Cardinals starter Adam Wainright (10-6) was nearly as tough as Haren, allowing two runs on five hits over seven innings. He struck out eight.
“It’s a shame one of them had to lose, especially if it’s our guy” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. “They were both dealing.”
Wainright said he didn’t do enough.
“Obviously, we lost the game,” he said. “But I was pitching against a very good pitcher.”
The Cardinals broke through first in the third inning, when Ryan and Skip Schumaker open the inning with back-to-back singles. Mark DeRosa lined softly to second before Pujols drove in Ryan with a single to left.
Arizona tied the game an inning later when Mark Reynolds and Montero led off with singles, and Reynolds scored one out later on Whitesell’s single to center.
The Diamondbacks took a 2-1 lead on Montero’s solo homer to right field with one out in the sixth.
The Cardinals‘ Ryan Ludwick extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a first-inning single. … B.J. Upton snapped an 0-for-26 streak on the road with an infield single in the ninth. … The Cardinals are 6-10 against the NL West. … Montero is batting .466 over his last 11 games. … Wainright has worked at least six innings in each of his last 18 starts.