PHILADELPHIA — St. Louis manager Tony La Russa expected a high-scoring game where the bullpens would be stretched thin.
Instead, the Cardinals' relievers kept it under control.
Hector Luna’s three-run home run capped a five-run first inning and the Cardinals got three scoreless innings from five relievers for a 7-4 win against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday.
“It looked like it would be a 12-10 game,” La Russa said. “Our bullpen had a great series. This is a tough park to pitch in. This is a tough lineup. You can only pat them so much. This is May and they’re going to be out there until the end.”
The Cardinals quickly ended Randy Wolf’s 21-inning scoreless streak and improved to 9-3 on the road.
It’s their best road start since they were 10-2 in 1946. They won the three-game series thanks to nine scoreless innings overall from the bullpen.
Jeff Suppan (3-3) pitched six shaky innings, allowing six hits and four runs. The Cardinals got a break in the first inning on an error and another misplayed ball that helped score four unearned runs.
Jason Isringhausen got four outs for his fourth save. He entered in the eighth with runners on first and second and two out, and got pinch-hitter Jason Michaels to strike out looking.
Michaels was furious over the call and plate umpire Dana DeMuth quickly tossed him. He also ejected Phillies manager Larry Bowa in the ninth when he came out to argue after a close call at the plate.
“I was arguing more about Michaels’ call, to be honest,” Bowa said.
The Phillies offense continued to sputter, with six starters hitting .250 or worse. Philadelphia today begins a 10-game road trip at Arizona, San Francisco and Colorado.
“We’re definitely going to have to score some runs,” Bowa said. “We have to swing the bats. I don’t mean just home runs. We have to generate some offense.”
Philadelphia also had trouble with its gloves. The Phillies entered as one of top fielding teams in the National League, but a couple of miscues in the first cost them.
After second baseman Placido Polanco’s error, Wolf gave up two straight singles. Scott Rolen got the second hit up the middle when Polanco and shortstop Tomas Perez collided behind
Edgar Renteria followed with bloop single to right to make it 2-0 and, after the second out, Luna hit the three-run shot to left.
It was Luna’s third hit in 12 at-bats this year and his second home run. Luna, a Rule 5 draft pick from Cleveland in December, hit two home runs in 462 at-bats last year for Double-A Akron.
Wolf (2-2) gave up eight hits and six runs, two earned, in 6 2-3 innings. The Phillies (12-14), preseason favorites to win the NL East, haven’t been at .500 since they were 1-1.
“I think we’re frustrated because we lost the series,” Wolf said. “We’ll be OK. I guarantee you we’ll get over .500.”
After the first, Wolf didn’t allow another hit until Tony Womack’s leadoff double in the fifth. Womack scored on Albert Pujols’ sacrifice fly, making it 6-4.
The Phillies scored three times in the first, including consecutive solo home runs from Jim Thome and Pat Burrell.
They had their chances against Suppan, loading the bases with one out in the third. Perez grounded to short to score a run and beat the relay throw to first. But Todd Pratt struck out to end the rally.
Philadelphia reliever Ryan Madson pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings, and has started his career without allowing an earned run in 19 innings.
Jim Edmonds’ RBI groundout in the ninth made it 7-4.