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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:21 pm 

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ST. ... -v4-vb-96/ . LOUIS -- Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals sorely needed this one, so the slugger picked a perfect time for a breakout game against the surging Milwaukee Brewers. Pujols kicked off a 4-for-4 night with a solo homer and the Cardinals beat the Brewers 5-2 on Thursday to avoid a three-game sweep. St. Louis pulled within four games of NL Central-leading Milwaukee, which has won 13 of 15. The Cardinals are the only team to beat the Brewers during their hot streak. Pujols almost doubled his hit total for the season against Milwaukee. The big first baseman entered with just five hits in 42 at-bats against the Cardinals main division rival, but he put that slide behind him with a drive in the first against Yovani Gallardo (13-8). Pujols moved into a tie with teammate Lance Berkman for the National League lead with 28 homers and added three singles to up his average to .284. "The last couple of days, no hits," Pujols said. "Today, four hits. What did I change? Nothing. "Im just trying to be consistent like I have. I think anyone would love to have those numbers I have after 100-plus games." Chris Carpenter (8-8) gave up 10 hits in eight innings, but shut down the Brewers after they scored twice in the first. Fernando Salas finished for his 22nd save in 25 opportunities. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa stopped short of calling it a must-win game, but was pleased with the effort. "Do or die is the last couple of weeks when the numbers are staring you in the face," La Russa said. "There was a lot of urgency today. We beat a very good pitcher." Mark Kotsay, subbing for all-star slugger Ryan Braun, reached three times and had an RBI double for Milwaukee. Prince Fielder had a run-scoring single to give him 88 RBIs. "I think we had a great road trip," Fielder said. "We had a great series here. I think we played good baseball tonight as well." After last weeks series in Milwaukee, which featured ejections and warnings for hit batters, this three-game set was fairly tame. The only thing close to an outburst came in the top of the eighth inning when all four umpires gathered briefly near third base and sent the Milwaukee bench a message. "(There were) just some comments that were made from a couple of players," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "They were telling me to keep one of our players quiet." Rafael Furcal got St. Louis off to a fast start with a leadoff drive to right in the first. After Gallardo fanned Jon Jay, Pujols hit a tying drive over the wall in centre. St. Louis took its first lead of the series in the third with some help from the Brewers. Second baseman Felipe Lopez booted Furcals ground ball leading off the inning, allowing him to reach first. Furcal was forced at second by Jay, but Pujols and Berkman followed with singles to plate Jay. That same combination worked again in the fifth when Jay singled to right with two out, stole second and scored on Pujols single to centre. Pujols moved to third on Berkmans single to right and came home on a wild pitch to make it 5-2. "Obviously, its a nice win," Carpenter said. "We needed this one. I went out and gave up the two early and we got the two right back and started over again. That was key." Gallardo gave up five runs, four earned, and seven hits in five innings. "I just left the ball up," he said. "That first inning, a curveball up in the zone (to Pujols). Hes a good hitter. Hes going to take advantage of those mistakes." NOTES: Furcals leadoff homer was the 27th of his career. ... Milwaukee will start a seven-game homestand Friday when it begins a three-game series with the Pirates. The Brewers are a major league-best 41-15 at home. ... Cardinals OF Matt Holliday was out of the lineup for a second straight game with back tightness. ... Milwaukees Frankie De La Cruz, who was called up earlier in the day to replace Chris Narveson on the roster, pitched a scoreless seventh inning. ... Cardinals C Yadier Molina extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an eighth-inning single. nike free schweiz online . The original USFL played from 1983-87, then went out of business after winning a lawsuit against the NFL and collecting only $3. ... nce-ch-55/ . -- Ramon Foster gives a wide smile, looks to the ground sheepishly and laughs quietly.ORLANDO, Fla. -- It took a while, but the San Antonio Spurs have finally found success on the road this season. They had to work a little longer than normal to realize it, though. After dropping their first five games away from Texas to begin year, the Spurs put the ball in the hands of one of their stars late in the game Wednesday night to help them grind out an 85-83 overtime victory over the Orlando Magic. Tony Parker, who has helped carry the team with Manu Ginobili sidelined, scored 25 points, including 16 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, to help preserve the win. "We wanted to come here and try to play well and have an opportunity to win the game," Parker said. "Im happy it bounced our way finally." Tim Duncan said the effort was just good enough and came at the right time for a team that was coming off blowing a 17-point lead in a 22-point loss to Miami. "It took every minute of that game and we couldnt make shots at the right time, but we continued to make stops, continued to push," he said. The loss snapped a season-best five-game win streak for the Magic, which also lost the only game of their lone back-to-back-to-back stretch of the season. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 24 points and 25 rebounds, with Ryan Anderson adding 17 and Von Wafer 15 off the bench. But it wasnt enough for them to overcome a dismal shooting night. Both teams traded a pair of baskets to begin the extra period before and 18-foot jumper by Duncan made it 81-79 with under a minute to play in OT. A dunk by Howard off a missed jumper by Jameer Nelson quickly tied it again before Gary Neals 3-pointer on the ensuing possession put the Spurs back up three. Wafer drove, was able to spin in a layup and was fouled with 16.3 left, but missed the free throw. Richard Jefferson was fouled on the rebound, though was able to connect on only one of his two free throws. The Magic got multiple looks at a 3-pointer to win the game on their final possession, but J.J. Redicks final swish from the top of the key was ruled to be after the final horn. Spurs coach Greg Popovich said he isnt surprised by the resiliency his team showed when things got tight. "They always respond and tonight they did," he said. "They were aggressive, they were physical and more than anything they just played through whatever was going to happen on the court. They didnt worry about the last play. ... Just that mental toughness that they showed after not showing it last night, that was very satisfying for the whole group." Winners of 10 of 12 games entering Wednesday, there hadnt been much to rattle the Magic during that streak. Not long stretches of games with few breaks. Not playing pooor defence, shooting badly or allowing teams to hang around late. ... men-mk-17/. But against San Antonio, the Magic at times were guilty of all, most notably a 33 per cent (29 for 87) shooting night from the field. Still, coach Stan Van Gundy said afterward that the deficiencies came most from his end this time around, "Just kicking ourselves," he said. "Our guys deserve to win with the effort they put out tonight. But Im kind of disappointed in myself." Specifically, he noted that he thought he might have reacted to different situations too slow at times and played Howard and Nelson too long. Howard played 40 minutes and Nelson 38. "We just came up short in the end," Howard said. "Third game in a row, (we) fought hard for the whole game. So theres nothing bad you can say about tonights game." Parker scored 10 of the Spurs first 12 points of the fourth quarter to push San Antonio out to a 69-64 lead with less than eight minutes to play in regulation. Orlando came back and got a steal and layup on the other end by layup by Redick to tie it at 73 with 36.9 seconds remaining before a tip-in by Duncan on the Spurs next trip. Redick tied it again with a pair of free-throws with 17 seconds left, but Parker badly missed a jumper. The Magic got the rebound, but with only .03 seconds they couldnt get off a clean shot. The Magic were without one of their best post entry passers Wednesday with starter Hedo Turkoglu sitting because of injury, and it showed for Orlando in its half-court offence. Duncan matched up with Howard defensively, playing him mostly straight up with no double-team help. The philosophy worked for the most part with the Magic leading by just three points at the break and Howard managing only seven field goal and four free-throw attempts for eight first-half points. The Spurs failed to capitalize, though, shooting 40 per cent in the half, including 1 for 8 from the 3-point line. As good as the win felt, Spurs forward Richard Jefferson said it is nothing they are going to dwell on. "I know its the first road victory, but let us not get carried away," he said. "Its not like we were a bad team, or under .500. ... We had some tough losses and bad losses. We have a quality team here. We just have to play better on the road for a longer period of time." Notes: Howard recorded his fourth 20-point, 20-rebound game of the season. ... Turkoglu missed his first start of the season with back spasms. Swingman Quentin Richardson made his first start of the season in his place. SG Jason Richardson sat out for the third straight game with a bone bruise on his left knee. ... The Spurs begin a stretch of four games in six days when they host the Kings. ' ' '

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