Cardinals roll past Arizona

PHOENIX — Albert Pujols drove in two runs with three hits — including a double and his 22nd home run — to extend his hitting streak to 17 games and lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-1 rout of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

Pujols, who had a 30-game hitting streak in 2003, also hit in 17 in a row as a rookie in 2001.

Chance to play bolsters newest Mav

A crowd of 1,248 offered warm applause when Thomas Bowker pinch ran for Mavericks’ rookie catcher Ryan Kottke in the eighth inning Monday night.

He had gone 2-4 in the Mavericks’ 12-5 loss to the Windy City Thunderbolts (12-26), including a run-scoring single in the second inning.

Chiefs pioneer dies

NEW ORLEANS — Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram, who guided the Kansas City Chiefs to two Super Bowls and was known for his inventive game plans and exuberance on the sideline, died Monday, his family said. He was 82.

Stram had been in declining health for several years, and Dale Stram attributed his father’s death to complications from diabetes. He died at St. Tammany Parish Hospital, near his home in Covington, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. He built a home there during his two-year stint as coach of the Saints and retired there.

Morris shines for Cardinals

PHOENIX — Matt Morris earned his 10th win, Scott Rolen hit a two-run double, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-3 on Monday.

John Mabry and pinch-hitters Abraham Nunez and So Taguchi also drove in two runs. Albert Pujols had an RBI and extended his hitting streak to 16 games for the Cardinals, who will send six players to the All-Star game, more than any team in the majors.

30-30 quest

ST. LOUIS — Reggie Sanders’ quest for a first 30-30 season could land him in an even more exclusive club.

The St. Louis Cardinals’ left fielder is closing in on 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases, a feat accomplished by only four players. At the halfway point of the season he needed 12 home runs and four steals to join Bobby Bonds, Willie Mays, Andre Dawson and Barry Bonds in the speed/power fraternity.

Mavs acting like winners

The unofficial tagline of the Mavericks’ 7-3 win against the Windy City Thunderbolts on Sunday night had the ring of a Hollywood B-movie.

“The Battle for the Basement” pitted the two worst teams in the Frontier League. Whoever lost would take sole possession of last place.

Struggling Royals can’t slow Angels

KANSAS CITY — Jarrod Washburn pitched five shutout innings, Garret Anderson scored twice and the streaking Los Angeles Angels completed a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals with a rain-shortened 5-0 victory Sunday night.

The game was called with none out in the top of the sixth after a rain delay of 1 hour, 46 minutes.

Criterium concludes Columbia Cup races

Spectators lined Sixth Street on Sunday morning as cyclists made the final lap of the category 4/5 criterium.

“Where’s Greg? Did he come through and start the final lap?” Brady Beckham asked as the race finished.

Nunez’s hit boosts Cards

ST. LOUIS — Denied their first road series win of the year, the Colorado Rockies were still pleased with a split against the defending NL champions.

Abraham Nunez singled home the winning run in the ninth inning of the Cardinals’ 5-4 victory Sunday, giving them two wins in the four-game series against a team with the worst road record in more than two decades.

Columbia Cup brings whirlwind of bike activity

The gusts of wind on Locust Street on Saturday evening were not a gift from Mother Nature in exchange for the past week’s heat, but a result of nearly 50 cyclists racing in small groups up the street toward Broadway.

“When they say go, there is no time to think,” said Steve Kullman, 45, a first-time competitor from Columbia. “The first time that you begin to think is when you are on the way back to the starting line.”

Behind the 8-ball

Columbia pool player Steve Deets assembled a small black pool cue and approached the table in a friendly Thursday night game at Rack & Roll Billiards.

Players at surrounding tables stopped and curiously watched as Deets examined his shot.

Catz impressive in AAU play

The Columbia Catz don’t give up easily.

The Catz, an age 16 and younger boys’ basketball team, made two comebacks in the Kansas City Keys AAU Basketball Tournament, which was. They went 4-1 to finish second in the tournament June 24 to 26, which qualified them for the National AAU Division II Championships July 9 to 14 in Little Rock, Ark.

Two MU players earn spots with national baseball team

Missouri’s Max Scherzer and Hunter Mense are changing their summer plans.

They will abandon their summer league teams after being selected to play for this year’s USA National Team.

Mavericks drop series, prepare for Windy City

The River City Rascals completed their sweep of Mid-Missouri on Saturday night, powering past the Mavericks 11-6 at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O’Fallon.

Mike Madrid and Justin McKinley hit home runs for the Rascals (20-15).

New league offers swing shift

Blake Ingram was expecting a calming weekend visit to his native St. Joseph two weeks ago. His relaxation ended when his friends from high school called him to fill in on their wooden bat summer league team.

“I’d take the chance to swing a wooden bat any day,” Ingram, a 20-year-old MU sophomore said.

Races put cycling in spotlight

Yellow wristbands with the slogan Livestrong on them will be popular accessories this weekend with Lance Armstrong starting his bid for his seventh straight Tour de France title. They should be more popular than normal in Columbia, though, with hundreds of cycling enthusiasts in town for the 20th Columbia Cup.

A set of four United States Cycling Federation events spanning Saturday and Sunday, the Columbia Cup begins the same day as the Tour de France.

Colorado rocks the Cardinals

ST. LOUIS — Rookie Jeff Francis pitched three-hit ball for six innings, and Garrett Atkins and Danny Ardoin hit home runs Thursday night to lead the Colorado Rockies against the St. Louis Cardinals 7-0 for only their sixth road victory of the season.

Francis (7-5) contributed two hits and scored twice for the Rockies, a major league-worst 6-31 on the road. The start was the most feeble since the 1982 Twins went 5-32, and they had dropped five straight and 11 of 12 away from Coors Field while getting outscored 77-32. The Rockies were 12-15 in June, their fifth straight losing month.

Rascals single out Mavericks

The Mid-Missouri Mavericks dropped their fifth consecutive game, losing 9-8 to the River City Rascals on Thursday in O’Fallon.

The Rascals (18-15) beat the Mavericks (11-22) on an RBI single from Mike Madrid in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Rascals were down as many as five runs in the game before mounting their comeback.

Former pitcher leads bullpen

Quentin Jones used to dream. Then a shaky outing woke him up.

“I always wanted to make it to the big leagues,” bullpen coach Jones said before the Mavericks’ 13-3 loss to Kalamazoo Wednesday night. “But when you get to a certain age — and I’m 26 now going on 27 — then I have to realize if I can pitch and be effective, or could I teach and actually help guys get better.”

Cardinals blast Reds

ST. LOUIS — Fortified by a cortisone shot to his ailing neck, Larry Walker returned to the St. Louis Cardinals’ lineup Wednesday night and hit two-run home runs his first two times up in a 11-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Matt Morris worked seven sharp innings, rebounding from his only loss of the year after an 8-0 start, to help the Cardinals win for the fourth time in five games. The NL Central leaders, who also got homers from Reggie Sanders and Jim Edmonds, are 21-8 against the Reds since the start of 2004.