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