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Top of lineup pushes Cardinals past Angels

Thursday, July 4, 2013 | 12:48 a.m. CDT; updated 2:19 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 4, 2013
The Cardinals' Yadier Molina, center, gestures toward Daniel Descalso as Matt Adams watches, after they scored on Descalso's double during the second inning of Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — St. Louis scored more runs than the Los Angeles Angels had allowed in their previous six games combined, and the Cardinals' table-setters were responsible for driving in half of them.

Jon Jay had three RBIs, including a two-run home run off center fielder Mike Trout's glove during St. Louis' seven-run second inning, and the Cardinals ended Los Angeles' seven-game winning streak with a 12-2 rout on Wednesday night.

Matt Carpenter, batting leadoff in front of Jay, also hit a home run and drove in three runs to help keep the Cardinals two games behind Pittsburgh in the NL Central.

"Matt Carpenter sets the tone for us, and he had a terrific game," manager Mike Matheny said. "He put together good at-bats and he doesn't give any away. It was also nice to see John Jay have some real nice at-bats. We need to get him going, and today was a real good indicator that he's on the right path. He's been making some adjustments that are allowing him to have good at-bats, and it worked out for him today."

Shelby Miller (9-6) struck out six over six innings and allowed five hits, including a two-run home run by Hank Conger in the second. The right-hander was coming off back-to-back losses against two other AL West clubs, including a 6-1 defeat last Friday at Oakland in which he lasted only 1 2/3 innings and gave up five runs.

"I wouldn't say I was any fresher tonight. I mean, I threw 51 pitches in the second inning at Oakland and that's going to wear your arm down more so than going eight innings and throwing 100 pitches," Miller said. "But I felt strong, so I basically wanted to try to go deep in the ballgame. My pitch (count) rose up again, but I got some big plays behind me.

"The biggest thing was just trying to get the ball down and hit the corners," Miller added. "I felt like I was on the corners — not the whole game, but more so than I had been. My fastball command was better and I felt like my curve ball was sharper. I just made that one mistake to Conger where I did that slide-step and tried to fool him with the curve, but I just hung it and left it right over the middle of the plate."

Jerome Williams (5-4) was charged with seven runs, four hits and four walks in just 1 2/3 innings. The right-hander had not given up more than three bases on balls in any of his previous 17 starts.

"After winning that many in a row, you almost always think you're due for a butt-kicking," Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton said. "You'd rather lose one like this than a really close one, but you've got to put it behind you."

One night after the Angels scored all of their runs in the second inning of a series-opening 5-1 victory, the Cardinals sent 12 men to the plate in the second after Williams had set them down 1-2-3 in the first.

The seven-run rally included a two-run double by David Descalso, and a two-run homer by Jay that Trout had in his glove for an instant before it popped out as his arm made contact with the top of the fence.

"The hardest play to make is when you get there at the same time as the ball," Hamilton said. "You're moving pretty good when you get there and don't have time to really have a chance to time anything."

Yadier Molina, who raised his NL-leading average to .352 after going 3 for 4 with a walk, greeted Garrett Richards with an RBI single that delivered the seventh run.

The Angels got two runs back in the bottom half on Conger's fifth home run after a two-out walk to Alberto Callaspo. But David Freese scored an unearned run in the Cardinals' third when Richards mishandled a throw from first baseman Mark Trumbo on Carpenter's two-out grounder behind the bag.

St. Louis increased the margin to 10-2 in the fifth on a run-scoring, ground-rule double by Carpenter and an RBI single by Jay, who had driven in only one run in his previous 35 at-bats coming in. It was only his second game this season with three or more RBIs, the other on May 4 when he had four at Milwaukee.

Carpenter ended the scoring in the eighth with his eighth home run, a solo shot off Billy Buckner.


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