The Norman Transcript

July 13, 2013

Beltran boosts Cards to win

Associated Press
The Associated Press

CHICAGO — Carlos Beltran had a forgettable 2,000th game in the majors on Thursday. His 2,001st might stay with him for a while.

After going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts one day earlier at Wrigley Field, Beltran bounced back Friday with three hits — falling a home run short of the cycle — and an RBI to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.

“Yesterday wasn’t a good one and today was better, for sure,” said Beltran, who had a run-scoring triple, double and single. “That’s baseball. Some days you feel like you come to the ballpark and you try and nothing works out your way, and today it seems like everything worked out my way.”

Beltran’s offense bolstered a second straight spot start for reliever-turned-starter Joe Kelly (1-3), who won his first game of the season.

“I just attacked with everything — slider, curve ball, change-up, four-seam, two-seam (fastball),” Kelly said. “When you throw a couple of those for strikes, you make it easier on yourself. If you’re throwing some off-speed and command both sides of the plate with the heater, it makes for a little better time out there.”

It was the second straight start for Kelly, who had a no-decision against Miami last Saturday. He’s unsure if he’ll get another start soon or will head back to the bullpen.

“I don’t look too far ahead about anything,” said Kelly, who allowed three hits and a run in 5 1-3 innings, struck out four and walked two. “I go out there and when they tell me to pitch, I pitch. That’s what’s good about being versatile, and I’m just still happy to be here.”

Edward Mujica pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 27 opportunities.

Thursday’s 3-0 loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Cardinals.

An added bonus was a seventh inning pinch-hit triple by Rob Johnson, whose contract was purchased Tuesday from Triple-A Memphis. Johnson then scored on Matt Carpenter’s go-ahead double.

“We needed it,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Johnson’s clutch hit. “It’s a feel-good for a guy who’s been doing a lot of things right for us in our system. In a situation, he helped us produce and we wound up getting a run out of it.”

St. Louis jumped on Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva (2-5) for two runs in the top of the first inning. Carpenter singled and scored on Beltran’s triple, followed by Allen Craig’s RBI single.

The Cubs cut St. Louis’ lead to 2-1 in the third. Luis Valbuena walked, went to second when Starlin Castro was hit by a pitch, Anthony Rizzo hit into a fielder’s choice that pushed Valbuena to third and then Alfonso Soriano’s single scored Valbuena