Molina's defense helps Cards net their 85th win



Jim Edmonds hit his fifth homer in five games for St. Louis.
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina didn't tag out just one runner at the plate Saturday, he got two.
Molina hung onto the ball during a second-inning collision with Ty Wigginton, and the Cardinals went on to match last year's total with their 85th win, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4.
"He won every award we can give him," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "The Gold Star, the King of the Hill, whatever. He'll get points all over baseball for what he did today. He hung onto the ball, stayed in the game and caught a winning game."
After Reggie Sanders' three-run homer in the second inning gave Matt Morris (14-8) an early lead, the Pirates' Jose Castillo singled to right to score Jason Bay.
Wigginton, who had doubled Bay to third, also tried to score, bowling over Molina as the catcher fielded Todd Walker's one-hop throw.
"I was surprised. I didn't expect that," Molina said. "I was just watching the ball, looking for the ball, and he got me."
Edmonds homers
Jim Edmonds hit his fifth homer in as many games for St. Louis, a major league-best 85-44. His two-run homer in the third inning helped the Cardinals improve to 11-5 this year against the Pirates.
Morris allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings, and Jason Isringhausen pitched the ninth for his 38th save in 44 chances.
Molina also took Edmonds' throw from center field and tagged out Castillo in the fourth inning after Jason Kendall's two-out single, preserving a 5-4 lead.
"It was a hot day to begin with, and it's tough just to sit there and catch the game," Morris said. "But to take a hit like that and shake it off is just impressive. That shows you how much heart he has."
It was the second big collision this month for Wigginton, who broke the ankle of catcher Koyie Hill while scoring a run at Arizona.
"I thought I was going to score, and the next thing I know Molina is right in front of me," Wigginton said. "I didn't get across, didn't get the run scored, so I guess it was all for naught. If he drops the ball, it might be a different ballgame."
Nelson Figueroa (0-1), making his second start of the season, gave up five runs and six hits in four innings as the Pirates lost for the seventh time in nine games. He didn't get a decision at St. Louis on Aug. 20.
"You can't make mistakes against a team like that," Figueroa said. "It was just two pitches, two home-run balls, that put up all five runs they had early on."
Sanders hit his 20th homer of the season after Scott Rolen's leadoff walk and Edmonds' single. Sanders also doubled and scored in the ninth on So Taguchi's two-out single off Salomon Torres.
"This game is all about timely hitting," Sanders said. "We don't rely on any one person."
Edmonds followed a two-out walk to Rolen in the third inning with his 36th homer, making it 5-1. Edmonds hit two homers Friday and has 10 RBIs in the last five games.
"He's playing as well as anyone in baseball," La Russa said.
Pittsburgh closed to 5-4 in the fourth on a two-run homer by Bay, who is 6-for-9 in his career against Morris, and a solo drive by Tike Redman. Bay's homer was his 20th.
Notes
Pirates' LHP Frank Brooks, who made his major league debut with a perfect inning Friday, pitched three scoreless innings and has yet to allow a hit ... After the Pittsburgh series, St. Louis plays 18 of its final 32 games against the NL West. ... St. Louis is 24-9 at PNC Park. ... Tony Womack went 0-for-4, ending a 13-game hitting streak.
ST. LOUISPITTSBURGH
abrhbiabrhbi
Wmack 2b4000Kendall c4010
Rnteria ss4010JWilsn ss4000
LWalkr rf4000Mckwk rf3000
Rolen 3b1200CWilsn 1b3110
Edmnd cf4222Bay lf3222
Tvarez p0000TRdmn cf4111
Isrnghs p0000Wggntn 3b3010
RSndrs lf4223Castillo 2b4021
Mabry 1b3010NFigra p1000
YMlina c3010Ward ph1000
MAndn ph1000Brooks p0000
Mtheny c0000Hill ph1000
Morris p1000Gnzalez p0000
Luna ph0000STorres p0000
Eldred p0000ANunez ph1000
King p0000
Tguchi cf1011
Totals30686Totals32484
St. Louis032000001--6
Pittsburgh010300000--4
DP--St. Louis 1, Pittsburgh 1. LOB--St. Louis 3, Pittsburgh 5. 2B--RSanders (22), Wigginton (25). HR--Edmonds (36), RSanders (20), Bay (20), TRedman (8). SB--Luna (3), Castillo (3). CS--Renteria (8), Taguchi (2). S--Mabry, Morris.
IPHRERBBSO
St. Louis
Morris W,14-8674425
Eldred1 1-310000
King1-300000
Tavarez1-300010
Isrnghs S,38100002
Pittsburgh
NFigueroa L,0-1465522
Brooks300023
Gonzalez100001
STorres121101
HBP--by Tavarez (Bay). Umpires--Home, Mike Winters; First, Tim Timmons; Second, Kevin Kelley; Third, Hunter Wendelstedt. T--2:44. A--19,167.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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