St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) – Mark Ellis’ pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the eighth inning proved to be the difference, as the Oakland Athletics got by the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-2, in the finale of a three-game interleague series at Busch Stadium.
Kevin Kouzmanoff went 4-for-4 with a solo homer and finished a triple shy of the cycle for the Athletics, who managed to salvage a win in the set and snapped a four-game slide in the process. Oakland won for only the second time in its last nine overall. Cliff Pennington turned in a three-hit effort in the victory.
Craig Breslow (2-1) earned the win for tossing 1 2/3 innings of perfect relief. Oakland starter Trevor Cahill worked six innings, giving up two runs on four hits, struck out seven and did not issue a walk. Andrew Bailey picked up his 13th save of the season with 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
Matt Holliday provided the offense with three hits, including a pair of solo homers, for St. Louis, which had won four of five coming into the contest. Albert Pujols and Felipe Lopez had the other two hits for St. Louis.
Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan, who was making his second start since being signed by St. Louis after getting released by Milwaukee, allowed two runs on seven hits and one walk with two strikeouts over 4 2/3 frames.
Tied 2-2 after seven innings, the Athletics plated a run in the eighth to take the lead for good. Back-to-back one-out singles by Conor Jackson and Kouzmanoff put runners on first and third off reliever Blake Hawksworth (1-4). Trever Miller came on, and Ellis greeted the left-handed specialist with sac fly to left.
Breslow, Michael Wuertz and Bailey combined to pitch a scoreless bottom of the eighth despite the Cardinals putting runners on first and third with two outs. Bailey fell behind Albert Pujols 2-0 before coming back to get the slugger to fly out to left that ended the threat.
Bailey then slammed the door in the bottom of the ninth with a 1-2-3 inning.
Starting pitching dictated the pace for the first three innings, but Kouzmanoff’s one-out homer to left in the fourth opened the scoring and gave the Athletics a brief lead. However, Holliday evened things with a leadoff shot to left in the home half.
Oakland put another run on the board in the fifth to go back in front. With runners on first and third and one out, Rajai Davis lined into a fielder’s choice — right fielder to shortstop — that scored Landon Powell, who led off with a double. Holliday cracked another solo homer to left in the sixth to make it a 2-2 game.
The Athletics improved to 133-109 in interleague play, but are just 5-7 this season… St. Louis fell to 6-3 in interleague play this season and are 106-93 all-time…Oakland finished 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven, while the Cardinals finished 0-for-2 with RISP and left four.