The Norman Transcript

Sports

June 23, 2014

St. Louis denies Philadelphia

ST. LOUIS — Mark Ellis knew that he might not see a whole lot of playing time when he signed a free-agent contract with the St. Louis Cardinals in December.

“I figured they’d want me to come off the bench and I’m fine doing that,” he said. “I just want to be on a winning team.”

Ellis has gotten the best of both worlds.

The 37-year-old infielder drove in two runs, including the go-ahead score with a bunt, and the Cardinals got a scoreless effort from their bullpen to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 Sunday.

The Cardinals have won two in a row and seven of 10. Philadelphia has lost two straight after a season-high five-game winning streak.

Ellis, who has received increased playing time due to injuries, broke a 3-all tie with a safely squeeze bunt in the fourth. He added an RBI single in the sixth. He is hitting .193 with 12 RBIs in 41 games.

“We talked about it and the opportunity came up,” he said of the bunt. “The ball up is an easier pitch to get that ball down. We were able to execute it.”

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny appreciates Ellis’ professional approach at the plate.

“Two big at-bats,” Matheny said. “Mark did a real nice job of getting that bunt down. He was thinking and really preparing ahead of time. He’s done a lot of good things in this game for a long time.”

Starter Carlos Martinez (1-3) allowed three runs over five innings.

Martinez, who has 31 relief appearances, was making his second start of the season, replacing Michael Wacha in the rotation.

“I just focused on throwing strikes, not throwing the ball so hard,” Martinez said. “As a starter, I’m learning to use all of my pitches.”

Nick Greenwood, Sam Freeman, Pat Neshek and Trevor Rosenthal combined for four innings of two-hit scoreless relief. Rosenthal got his 22nd save in 25 chances. Freeman struck out three in 1 2-3 innings.

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