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Snell downs Cards, tosses Pirates out of losing skid

• Hero: Ian Snell tossed a seven inning, three-hit masterpiece in his series opener. He allowed only one run with six strikeouts and four walks and retired 11 Cardinals before being relieved by Matt Capps.

• Figure this: The Pirates went 64 innings without an error before Adam LaRoche botched a slow grounder to first in the ninth.

• Figure this II: The Cardinals are 1-5 at home since clinching the 2006 World Series.

• Elias Says: The Cardinals lost to the Pirates after Albert Pujols fouled out with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was the fifth time in his major league career that Pujols came to the plate with two out in the ninth with his team trailing and the tying run in scoring position. He has now been retired to end the game in four of those instances.

-- ESPN.com news services

Pirates 3, Cardinals 2

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Salomon Torres refused to let the
St. Louis Cardinals beat him again.

The Pittsburgh Pirates' closer, who had a loss and a blown save
during St. Louis' three-game sweep in Pittsburgh last week, got
Albert Pujols to foul out with the bases loaded for the final out
in a 3-2 victory on Monday night.

"Everybody knows how dangerous he is, and I just let the sinker
do the job," Torres said. "Boy, I was excited when I saw the
popup."

Pujols hit two homers and drove in five runs on Sunday,
appearing to end an April drought. He was 0-for-4 with a walk on
Monday with no balls hit out of the infield, dropping his average
back down to .170.

"That's why the game keeps you humble," Pujols said. "As I
was stepping into the batter's box, I saw myself getting a line
drive back through the middle. He just made a great pitch."

Ian Snell threw seven innings of three-hit ball and Xavier Nady
had two RBIs to help the Pirates snap a four-game losing streak.
Torres bore little blame for the ninth-inning jam, created when
first baseman Adam LaRoche booted Adam Kennedy's grounder at the
start of the inning -- the Pirates' first error in 65 innings.
Pinch-hitter Aaron Miles' infield single hit the third-base bag and
bounded high over Jose Bautista to put runners on first and third.

Torres loaded the bases when he hit David Eckstein with a pitch,
then retired Chris Duncan on a shallow fly to left and Pujols on
the foul pop to third.

"He got a little bit of everything within the framework of
three outs," manager Jim Tracy said. "He never wavered one bit.
He showed his mettle."

Anthony Reyes barely made it out of the first inning for the
Cardinals, 1-5 at home since winning the 2006 World Series. St.
Louis swept a three-game series at Pittsburgh last week, beating
Snell even though he allowed only one run in seven innings.

Freddy Sanchez singled and tripled for the Pirates, who are 5-2
on the road after finishing an NL-worst 24-57 away from home last
year. Pittsburgh, which returned to action after two rainouts at
home last weekend, was 1-13 on the road to start 2006 and didn't
win its fifth road game until June 5.

Snell (1-1) allowed one run with six strikeouts and four walks,
two coming in his final inning when the Cardinals got an RBI single
from Kennedy and had the bases loaded with one out before
pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker fouled out and Eckstein grounded out.

"He did a pretty good job a week ago," Eckstein said. "Today,
he was really on. The slider was where you couldn't see the spin,
and that gave us fits."

Scott Rolen singled twice for the Cardinals, one with two outs
in the first and the other leading off the seventh. Between those
at-bats, Snell retired 16 of 17 batters with the stretch
interrupted only by Yadier Molina's two-out walk in the fifth.

His toughest inning by far was the seventh, when he faced seven
hitters. Tracy wanted to see how Snell, who won 14 games as a
rookie last season, would deal with adversity.

"To not give him the opportunity, to take the game away, would
have been wrong," the manager said. "The seventh inning was
fabulous."

Jim Edmonds drove in his first run of the season with a bloop
single off Damaso Marte that cut the deficit to one in the eighth.
Torres worked the ninth for his fifth save in six chances,
completing a six-hitter.

Reyes (0-2) needed 47 pitches to escape the first, allowing
three hits and walking two while the Pirates took a 3-0 lead. The
first run scored on Jason Bay's bases-loaded, full-count walk, and
Nady followed with a two-run single.

Reyes held off the Pirates his last four innings, stranding
Sanchez after a leadoff triple in the third and getting Adam
LaRoche on a double-play ball with runners on first and third to
end the fifth. In five innings, Reyes gave up three runs and six
hits.

"I was just trying to give us innings," Reyes said. "I didn't
want the bullpen to get crushed."

Duncan was 1-for-5, making him 8-for-15 the last four games.
Much criticized for his outfield play last season, Duncan also made
the defensive stop of the game with a diving grab on Sanchez's
sinking liner for the first out in the eighth.

Game notes
Pirates LHP John Grabow (elbow irritation) allowed two hits
and struck out one in a scoreless inning in his second rehab
appearance for Triple-A Indianapolis. ... Pittsburgh went 64
innings without an error before LaRoche botched a slow grounder to
first in the ninth. ... The Pirates were 1-5 at Busch Stadium last
year.