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Wells protects early Cardinals’ advantage

Thursday, August 9, 2007 | 2:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:00 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

ST. LOUIS — Kip Wells limited San Diego to an unearned run in seven innings, and the St. Louis Cardinals got first-inning RBIs from Juan Encarnacion and Albert Pujols in a 2-1 victory over the Padres on Wednesday night.

Encarnacion’s RBI double off the left-field wall was the second in a string of four straight hits to start the first off Greg Maddux. Encarnacion’s hit atoned for his fielding error in right field in the top of the inning that allowed Mike Cameron to score from first base on Adrian Gonzalez’s single.

Baseball

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Pujols followed Encarnacion’s hit with a single, scoring the go-ahead run and helping the Cardinals win for only the second time in eight games. David Eckstein had two hits and scored a run after his leadoff hit in the first.

Wells (5-13) won for the first time in four starts, giving up six hits. He struck out four and walked none in one of his best outings of the season.

Jason Isringhausen allowed runners to reach first and second with two outs in the ninth before retiring Morgan Ensberg for his 22nd save in 24 chances and first since July 31.

Isringhausen rebounded after surrendering three runs, two earned, in the ninth inning of the Padres’ 4-0 victory on Tuesday.

Cameron had two hits for the Padres, who lost for the second time in seven games.

Maddux, 0-5 in eight starts since June 27, remained stuck on 340 career wins. After the four opening hits, the 41-year-old right-hander faced only one batter over the minimum and allowed no more hits in the rest of his six-inning stint.

Maddux (7-9) struck out five and walked none, requiring only 72 pitches. He leads the NL in walks per nine innings at 1.4, and has walked none in four of his past five outings covering 29 1/3 innings.


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