La Russa ties Herzog with 822 Cards wins

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A decade ago when the St. Louis Cardinals hired
Tony La Russa as their manager, there's no question he would have lost a popularity contest with Whitey Herzog.

A very successful run -- five postseason berths and a World Series appearance -- narrowed the gap. And La Russa caught Herzog, who guided the team to a championship and three pennants in the 1980s, on the franchise victory list Monday night with a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Chris Carpenter allowed four hits in seven innings, and Albert Pujols' two-run double in the sixth helped St. Louis beat the Pirates for the 10th straight time.

It was the 822nd win with the Cardinals for La Russa, tying him with Herzog for second on the franchise list. La Russa reached the milestone in 1,501 games, 49 fewer than Herzog.

"It's special to be in this uniform," La Russa said. "I guarantee you, he won 800 games because he had players and I got 800 because we've got players. It's a players' game."

Reggie Sanders had two hits and two RBI for the Cardinals, whose run of dominance against Pittsburgh extends to last Aug. 20 and includes three victories this year by a combined score of 22-4. But they were held in check by Dave Williams until scoring three runs in the sixth.

"We've had real good battles against the Cardinals in the past and we're still having good battles against them," said Pittsburgh's Daryle Ward, who was 0-for-3 with a walk. "They're not blowing us out, we're losing tough games and we just want to be on the other side."

Jason Bay homered in the eighth and Williams (4-4) drove in his second run of the season with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly for the Pirates, who have lost three of four.

Carpenter (7-2) didn't allow a hit until Rob Mackowiak doubled to start the fifth. The right-hander had six strikeouts, fanning
the side in the sixth, and walked three. He also worked out of a jam in the seventh, retiring Humberto Cota and pinch-hitter Bobby Hill with runners on second and third.

Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his 12th save in 12 chances.

Williams, who won his three previous starts, held the Cardinals hitless until Sanders singled to start the fifth. Williams gave up three runs and four hits in six innings.

"I don't pitch against their pitcher, I pitch against their offense," Williams said. "If you look at it, everybody's beatable if you pitch your game.

"Tonight I came up a little short and that was that," he said.

Yadier Molina led off the sixth with a single and advanced on Carpenter's sacrifice and a groundout before Williams walked his only batter of the game, Larry Walker. Pujols fouled off two pitches before lining a double to left, and Walker perhaps
surprised the Pirates when he was sent home as shortstop Jack Wilson checked second base before throwing to the plate.

"I had no idea, I was just doing what my third base coach wanted," Walker said. "That's all I do -- if the manager tells me to do something or the coach tells me something, I do it.

"The wife, too," he said.

Sanders followed with an infield hit for a 3-1 lead and drove in an insurance run in the eighth with a grounder to third that Mackowiak mishandled for an error.

Bay, who had been in a 2-for-26 slump, hit his ninth homer off Julian Tavarez with two outs in the eighth.

Game notes
Former Cardinals pitcher Rick Ankiel, trying to resurrect his career as an outfielder, was activated from a back injury that had sidelined him since May 7 and then demoted from Double-A Springfield to Class-A Quad Cities. Ankiel went 1-for-20 with Springfield. ... Plate umpire Jerry Crawford left after six innings with back spasms. Phil Cuzzi, who began the game at second base, replaced him behind the plate. ... Red Schoendienst is the Cardinals' career wins leader as a manager with 1,041 in 12 full seasons and parts of two others. He is now a special assistant to GM Walt Jocketty. ... The Pirates are 12-10 on the road and 7-13 at home. ... The Pirates are 1-19 when trailing after eight innings.