Diamondbacks 7, Cardinals 6

Kelly Johnson’s first three at-bats were routine outs, perhaps

enough to convince the St. Louis Cardinals to let Kyle Lohse face

him one more time.

Then Johnson got a fat changeup over the plate that changed the


The leadoff man broke a seventh-inning tie with his second grand

slam of the season and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen barely

hung on for a 7-6 victory Friday night.

”Definitely to me, that was the one pitch that he threw that

was really hittable all night,” Johnson said.

The left-handed hitting Johnson had been expecting to see lefty

Raul Valdes, who had been warming up.

”It kind of felt like one of those situations where generally a

move is made,” Johnson said. ”But he’d been getting me out and I

didn’t have great swings. Basically, I just didn’t miss the one I

got and that’s good for us.”

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he decided against pulling

Lohse because of the earlier success along with concern the

Diamondbacks would counter with a right-handed pinch-hitter.

”I thought (Lohse) had the weapons to get Johnson,” La Russa

said. ”Like I said, didn’t work, bad decision.”

Chris Young added a two-run triple and David Hernandez earned

his fifth save in as many attempts as the stand-in closer for the

Diamondbacks, who have won five of seven and were two games behind

NL West-leading San Francisco.

Ian Kennedy (9-3) allowed three runs in six innings, matching

his career-best victory total from last season.

Lance Berkman hit his NL-leading 24th homer and Matt Holliday

added his fourth in four games to spark the Cardinals’ three-run

eighth against three relievers. Hernandez worked around a leadoff

walk to Albert Pujols and a one-out fielding error by shortstop

Stephen Drew and is 7 for 9 in save chances overall.

Johnson has 16 homers, most before the All-Star break in

franchise history by a second baseman. Four straight batters

reached safely against Lohse (8-6) with one out in the seventh and

Johnson deposited a 2-2 pitch just beyond the wall in right field

and into the Cardinals’ bullpen for his fourth career grand slam

and first since May 21 against the Twins.

He hadn’t been anticipating huge success.

”No, heck no, no,” Johnson said. ”He didn’t by any means go

up there and miss and miss and miss and give up hits after hits

after hits. I was just a situation where we got some guys on and it

was a big inning for us.”

Berkman has 351 career homers, breaking a tie with Chili Davis

for fourth-best on the career list for switch-hitters and trailing

only Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray and Chipper Jones. He also singled

and walked and is 8 for 20 with five homers and 11 RBIs in four

games this season against the Diamondbacks.

Berkman matched his best pre-break homer total since 2006 with

one out in the second. The Cardinals had Kennedy on the ropes in

the third with a sacrifice fly by Pujols and an RBI double by

Holliday and had the bases loaded with one out before Colby Rasmus

grounded into a force play at the plate and Gerald Laird grounded


Lohse was charged with seven runs in 6 2-3 innings, one of only

two outings past six innings in his last eight starts, and threw a

season-high 120 pitches. After losing for the fourth time in five

decisions, Lohse said fatigue was not a factor.

”I like to be out there, I like to work as long as I can,”

Lohse said. ”The pitch before that was pretty good. I just didn’t

make a good pitch when I needed to.”

Lohse retired the first 10 in order before running into trouble.

Holliday just missed a running catch on Young’s two-run triple to

the gap in left-center in the fourth, and Miguel Montero followed

with an RBI single to tie it.

Kennedy and reliever Aaron Heilman both had to deflect liners up

the middle, each ending with an unattended assist. Kennedy finished

strong, retiring 11 of the last 12.

NOTES: Drew made an outstanding play in the fourth, diving up

the middle to snare David Freese’s grounder and then flipping just

in time for an inning-ending forceout. … Berkman’s best homer

total before the break is 29 in 2002. He has 18 career homers

against the Diamondbacks. … Kennedy struck out three after

totaling 37 strikeouts in 35 2-3 innings the previous five