Cardinals 9, Diamondbacks 4

BY foxsports • April 22, 2010

Colby Rasmus and the St. Louis Cardinals took advantage of another Arizona bullpen meltdown.

Rasmus homered twice, including a tiebreaking shot in the ninth inning Wednesday night that gave the St. Louis Cardinals a testy, 9-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The benches emptied in the second inning when Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, after being hit by a pitch from Edwin Jackson, tried to take out Arizona second baseman Kelly Johnson on a double-play ball. No punches were thrown.

It was 4-all when Rasmus opened the ninth with a home run off Chad Qualls (0-1), who was roundly booed by the crowd of 19,165. The Cardinals wound up scoring five times in the inning, capped by Skip Schumaker's three-run homer off Bob Howry.

Rasmus hit a two-run homer in the first inning.

``I felt like my swing was where I wanted it to be,'' Rasmus said.

The Diamondbacks' loss further illuminated their bullpen's struggles this season.

``It's getting pretty ridiculous to be honest, and it's no fun to lose these games,'' manager A.J. Hinch said. ``It's hard to find new ways to describe late inning failures, where they scratch not one, not two, but multiple runs on top of us to take us out of games.''

Qualls said he's frustrated with his start, which includes three blown saves in five chances this season.

``I worked my butt off to get healthy this year and it's just not paying of right now,'' he said. ``That's just the way baseball goes and I have to keep grinding it out and keep doing what I do everyday and I know it's going to turn around.''

Jason Motte (1-1) got the victory. The Cardinals have won all five of their series this season.

Jackson hit Carpenter in the left wrist with one out in the second and both pitchers exchanged words while being restrained. A still-fuming Carpenter then appeared to make a move at Johnson on the bases. Johnson said something to Carpenter and the dugouts cleared.

``The catcher was setting his glove up high. They were trying to throw the ball up there,'' Carpenter said, acknowledging that Jackson wasn't trying to hit him intentionally. ``There's no need for it. It's not like I can hit. Throw the ball down and away, throw a slider. Come on. It's not right.''

Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa said Carpenter was so angry - the ball broke the skin and left a bloody abrasion - that Carpenter had trouble breathing. Carpenter regretted going in hard toward Johnson.

``That was my fault and it was an unprofessional move. I shouldn't have done it and I told (first base coach) Matt Williams at first to tell Kelly it was unprofessional,'' Carpenter said.

Carpenter had gone 22 innings without an allowing an earned run to Arizona until Tony Abreu's RBI double in the third.

Carpenter ended up with a no-decision after pitching seven-plus innings and leaving with a 4-2 lead in the eighth. The Diamondbacks evened the score on Johnson's RBI double and Trever Miller's wild pitch.

The Cardinals scored three runs in the first inning off Jackson, one on right fielder Justin Upton's throwing error and two on Rasmus' homer.

Jackson's eight innings marked his longest outing of the season. He gave up seven hits and struck out four.

Abreu made his first start of the season at third base for Arizona, replacing Mark Reynolds.

Reynolds, who had started all of the Diamondbacks' 14 previous games and leads the team with five home runs, got a night off because of continued quadriceps soreness. He will use the team's off-day Thursday to rest even more before the Diamondbacks play their next 20 games in 20 days.

NOTES: In need of outfield and bench depth with two players on the 15-day disabled list and Reynolds hurting, the Diamondbacks optioned struggling left-hander Jordan Norberto to Triple-A Reno and recalled outfielder Cole Gillespie for his first big league stint. Gillespie had a pinch-hit double to lead off the eighth.