<
>

La Russa cracks top 10 with 1,887th win

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Chuck Finley may be 39 years old, but he still
has plenty of life left in his arm.

Finley struck out 10 in eight innings and Scott Rolen hit a
two-run triple as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh
Pirates 4-1 Wednesday night for their 10th win in 12 games. He has
2,575 career strikeouts and needs six to tie Bob Feller for 20th
place on the career strikeout list.

"Oh geez, that just tells me I'm getting old and I need to get
out of here,'' Finley said. "I just keep chugging along, I stay
off the operating table and I take my turn every fifth day.

"It's nice to start moving up the ladder with some of the Hall
of Famers that kind of established the backbone of this game.''

The Pirates weren't buying any of that "old guy'' stuff.

"He hasn't been one of the best left-handers in the game for
this long because he doesn't know how to pitch,'' Brian Giles said.
"He's going to help them out in the postseason.''

The victory was the 1,887th in 24 seasons for manager Tony La
Russa, moving him into the top 10 ahead of Hall of Famer Bill
McKechnie. La Russa said he was more excited that the NL Central
leaders matched their season best of 16 games above .500 (70-54).

The Cardinals scored all their runs off Josh Fogg (11-9) with
two outs. Jim Edmonds walked on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded
for the game's first run in the third and Albert Pujols hit an RBI
single before Rolen's fourth triple in 20 games gave the Cardinals
in a three-run fifth.

Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his 28th save in 32
chances. He's 9-for-9 since the All-Star break and hasn't allowed a
hit or a walk in seven games in August.

Isringhausen, working for the first time in seven days, needed
only five pitches to retire the Pirates' 2-3-4 hitters in order.

"Where's the rust?'' La Russa said. "He was as sharp as he
could be, and he retired the middle of their lineup, too. That's
hard work.''

The Pirates' run came on a pinch-hit homer by Keith Osik with
one out in the sixth. The Pirates, who have lost 11 of 15, hit a
season-high five homers in an 8-0 victory on Tuesday.

Brian Giles, who was 0-for-3, said he short-circuited another
scoring opportunity when he lined out to first baseman Tino
Martinez with runners on the corners and nobody out in the fourth.

"It's dumb hitting,'' Giles said. "The guy's been playing
there for a hundred-some years.''

Finley, acquired in July from the Cleveland Indians, was 1-3 in
four August starts and the Cardinals were shut out in two of the
games. He allowed three hits and walked two to beat Fogg for the
second time this year.

Finley (4-3) reached double figures in strikeouts for the 33rd
time in his career, and for the first time since he fanned 11
Detroit Tigers on May 28, when playing for the Indians. Catcher
Mike Matheny was impressed with Finley's response after giving up
the homer to Osik, which prompted a visit from pitching coach Dave
Duncan.

"He came after them,'' Matheny said. "One little bump in the
road.''

Fogg lasted five innings, giving up four runs on six hits. In
his last two starts, both losses, he's allowed 10 earned runs in 10
1/3 innings.

He's 1-3 against the Cardinals his rookie season, allowing 20
earned runs in 19 2/3 innings.

"They're a good team,'' Fogg said. "If you don't make good
pitches, you don't get them out. I think I beat them once this year
and I made good pitches that day.''

Pujols has homered in five of his last eight games against the
Pirates and has 15 RBI against Pittsburgh.

Game notes
Pujols needs one home run to become the fifth player in
team history to hit 30 homers in consecutive seasons. The others
are Stan Musial, Ray Lankford, Mark McGwire and Jim Edmonds. ...
Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon used his 91st different lineup in
127 games. ... Osik is 2-for-13 as a pinch-hitter with two RBI.