ST. LOUIS – Joe Torre’s first game in St. Louis since being fired as Cardinals manager a decade ago was far from a happy homecoming.

The Cardinals began their second straight high-profile interleague series with a strong start from Jason Marquis and a big game from Albert Pujols in an 8-1 victory over the stumbling New York Yankees on Friday night.

Marquis (8-3) allowed a run and six hits in eight innings and Pujols singled, doubled and homered for St. Louis, which took two of three from the Boston Red Sox in a World Series rematch that concluded Wednesday.

The Cardinals outscored the Red Sox 16-3 in the first two games and dominated again Friday in front of a sellout crowd of 50,250 – the largest crowd at Busch Stadium since a manually operated scoreboard was installed in center field and several thousand seats were removed in 1997.

Derek Jeter’s 1,800th career hit, an RBI double in the fifth, was the lone highlight for the Yankees, who have lost eight of 10 on a season-high, 12-game trip and dropped two games below .500 at 29-31. Three errors contributed to three unearned runs for an already struggling Chien-Ming Wang, who filled in for sore-shouldered Kevin Brown and allowed seven runs in a season-low four innings.

The three-error game tied a season worst for the Yankees, who now have six such games this year.

Torre managed the Cardinals from 1990-95 and played for them for six years, and was NL MVP in 1971 when he batted a league-leading .363. This was the Yankees’ first trip to St. Louis, though, since the 1964 World Series.

Orioles 4, Reds 3

CINCINNATI – Melvin Mora hit a three-run homer, outshining one of baseball’s greatest collections of power hitters and leading the Baltimore Orioles to a 4-3 victory Friday night over the Cincinnati Reds.

The interleague matchup marked the first time that three 500-homer players appeared in the same game – Sammy Sosa (580), Rafael Palmeiro (559) and Ken Griffey Jr., who hit a solo shot in the eighth for No. 511.

The trio went 3-for-11, with Griffey providing the only hit of any note. Sosa, who hit No. 500 at Great American Ball Park two years ago, had a particularly rough time, striking out in his three at-bats.

Rockies 2, Tigers 0

DENVER – Jamey Wright pitched six-hit ball into the eighth inning and Garrett Atkins hit a two-run homer to help the Colorado Rockies beat the Detroit Tigers 2-0 Friday night, matching the lowest-scoring game in Coors Field’s 11-year history.

Heavy rain delayed the game’s start 56 minutes and it was still cold and damp once things got underway – ideal conditions for a pitching duel at Coors.

Neither team could get much going against the other’s starter, with the game remaining scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning. That’s when Atkins lifted a flat breaking ball by Mike Maroth (4-7) over the wall in right-center for a two-run homer.

Pirates 7, Devil Rays 2

PITTSBURGH – Jason Bay and Daryle Ward each drove in three runs Friday night as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 7-2.

Bay had a two-run triple in the Pirates’ three-run fifth inning and Ward added a two-run double in the seventh as Pittsburgh won for the eighth time in 11 games to move within one game of .500.

The Pirates are the only team in the majors with an extra-base hit in every game this season.

Phillies 5, Brewers 2

PHILADELPHIA – David Bell’s three-run homer with one out in the ninth inning led the surging Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

Jim Thome added a two-run homer for the Phillies, who have won 13 of 15 and are a season-best six games over .500 (34-28).

Jeff Cirillo homered for Milwaukee, which has lost nine of 13.

Angels 12, Mets 2

NEW YORK – Steve Finley and Darin Erstad each homered to helped Bartolo Colon win his fourth straight decision for the Los Angeles Angels, 12-2 over the New York Mets on Friday night.

The Angels’ ace now has four wins in six starts since losing May 7 to Detroit. He led the Angels to their ninth win in 14 games, though he was outpitched by Kazuhisa Ishii for much of the game.

Colon (8-3) went six innings, allowing just two runs on seven hits. He struck out three with no walks.

Astros 4, Blue Jays 2

HOUSTON – Willy Taveras, Morgan Ensberg and Jason Lane homered and Wandy Rodriguez pitched out of several jams over six-plus shaky innings, and the Houston Astros beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 Friday night in the first game between the franchises.

The Astros made good use of their nine hits and won for the ninth time in 14 games since ending a seven-game losing streak on May 25.

Rodriguez (2-2) gave up nine earned runs in 2 2-3 innings in his last start. He was better on Friday, allowing four hits, although he walked six. He had three strikeouts.

Athletics 6, Braves 4

ATLANTA – Eric Chavez hit a tie-breaking, two-run homer in the seventh inning and the Oakland Athletics snapped an 11-game road losing streak by beating the Atlanta Braves 6-4 Friday night.

Bobby Crosby also hit a two-run homer as Oakland won on the road for the first time since May 20 at San Francisco.

Danny Haren (4-7) won his third straight decision, giving up six hits and four runs in 6 2-3 innings. Haren also drove in two runs for his first RBIs since 2003, when he had one with St. Louis.

Marcus Giles had two hits, including his fourth homer, for the Braves, who have dropped four straight series. Atlanta has lost 10 of 14 games and has dropped to two games over .500 for the first time since April 25.

Marlins 12, Rangers 5

MIAMI – Reliever Doug Brocail walked Luis Castillo on four pitches to force in the go-ahead run and Mike Lowell hit a grand slam one out later to highlight the Florida Marlins’ seven-run eighth inning in a 12-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.

Paul Lo Duca, Miguel Cabrera and Alex Gonzalez each had two RBIs for the Marlins, who entered having lost 12 of 15 but won for the second time in three games.

The Rangers lost their fourth straight and seventh in nine games.

Nationals 9, Mariners 3

WASHINGTON – Brian Schneider hit a go-ahead two-run single, and the Washington Nationals took advantage of five walks in the eighth inning to break open a tie game and beat the Seattle Mariners 9-3 Friday night for their eighth consecutive victory.

The game went to the bottom of the eighth at 3-all, but Washington sent 11 men to the plate and managed to score six runs with the benefit of just three singles.

Jose Guillen led off the inning with one of those hits off reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa (1-2), who then walked Nick Johnson. Vinny Castilla advanced the runners with a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt, earning a partial standing ovation from the crowd of 28,704.

Junior Spivey was walked intentionally to load the bases with one out, bringing up Schneider. He singled to right, bringing home Guillen and Johnson, making it 5-3.

With runners on the corners, Jamey Carroll – who entered the game in the top half of the inning at shortstop – bunted. The ball flew past Hasegawa, who barehanded it and flipped it to first, but too late to get Carroll, and Spivey scored on the play.

Pinch-hitter Tony Blanco walked to load the bases with one out, and Hasegawa gave way to Matt Thornton. That didn’t exactly stem the tide, because Thornton promptly walked Brad Wilkerson and Ryan Church, each forcing in a run.

Guillen then came up for the second time in the inning and hit a grounder that first baseman Richie Sexson smothered for the second out, with Blanco coming home for the final Washington run.

Luis Ayala (6-3) earned the win by getting three outs in the eighth. Hector Carrasco, the fifth Washington pitcher, worked a scoreless ninth.

The day began with the Nationals making a flurry of changes. They acquired second baseman Spivey from Milwaukee for Friday’s scheduled Washington starter, Tomo Ohka. And they claimed two right-handers off waivers, including the Texas Rangers’ opening day starter, Ryan Drese.

With Ohka gone, Sun-woo Kim made his first start of the season, and he went five innings, allowing two runs and five hits. Mariners starter Joel Piniero allowed two runs and six hits in six innings.

When Piniero left, Seattle was ahead 3-2, but Washington tied it in the seventh off reliever Ron Villone – and Spivey scored the run in his first appearance with his new club. Carlos Baerga led off with a walk, and Spivey pinch ran. He was sacrificed to second, moved to third on pinch-hitter Wil Cordero’s groundout, and scored on pinch-hitter Marlon Byrd’s grounder. Byrd’s ball was bobbled by shortstop Mike Morse, resulting in a late throw to first, and the play was ruled a hit.

Wilkerson walked, and he and Byrd moved up a base on a passed ball with Church up. But Church flied out to left to end the inning.

Richie Sexson delivered an RBI single to right, and Raul Ibanez had an RBI groundout in the fourth as Seattle went up 2-0. Washington cut its deficit to 2-1 in the fifth on an RBI single from Rick Short, a career minor leaguer making his first appearance in the majors.

The Mariners went up 3-1 in the sixth on Sexson’s upper-deck homer on the second pitch thrown by reliever T.J. Tucker, and the Nationals got back within 3-2 in the bottom half when Guillen’s single drove in Church, who doubled.

Notes: RF Guillen’s reputation for having a strong arm probably saved a run in the fifth, when Seattle’s Rene Rivera held at third on Randy Winn’s flyout with one out. … The Nationals have trailed in 11 of their last 12 wins. … Nationals 3B Castilla made a diving stop on Adrian Beltre’s grounder in the seventh, throwing to second base for a forceout. … Wilkerson tripled in the third inning for his 500th career hit. … Mariners manager Mike Hargrove’s son, Andy, signed with the team Friday. He was drafted in the 47th round of the amateur draft. … Veteran OF Jeffrey Hammonds retired rather than accept an assignment to Triple-A New Orleans.

AP-ES-06-10-05 2227EDT


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