PHOENIX (AP) — Kyle McClellan admitted that Chase Field has been a tough place for him to pitch in the past. Maybe as a reliever.
McClellan’s first start in Arizona was a success, with the right-hander picking up his first major-league win as a starter and knocking in two runs with a pair of hits to help lead the St. Louis Cardinals to an 8-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night.
“It’s better than my first loss,” McClellan said. “It just comes with doing your job.”
Lance Berkman hit two home runs and Jon Jay added a pinch-hit homer for St. Louis.
The Cardinals sent nine batters to the plate in the top of the fourth inning, scoring three runs with two outs. Skip Schumaker’s double down the right-field line drove in Matt Holliday, then McClellan picked up his second career RBI with a single after a wild pitch advanced Schumaker and Yadier Molina to second and third.
“I got lucky a couple of times,” McClellan said of his hitting.
“They hit a couple of ground balls when they put that string of four (hits) together and it worked against us,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said, noting that Arizona was 1 for 9 against McClellan with runners in scoring position. “That happens sometimes.”
Ryan Theriot’s single to right drove in Molina, and that was enough for McClellan (1-0), who made it through six innings allowing a run on seven hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
“Four walks isn’t what you want,” McClellan said, “but I made pitches when I needed to and I’ve got to work on trying to throw less pitches per inning. But you’ve got to go with what you’ve got that day.”
McClellan drove in the game’s first run with a double over the head of center fielder Chris Young in the third inning. The Diamondbacks were playing the pitcher shallow after he’d squared to bunt earlier in his first at-bat.
“He did it all,” Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa said of McClellan. “More than anything else he elevated himself among the bench as far as pinch-hitters among the pitchers.”
The Diamondbacks came back in their half of the fourth with a run off McClellan. Young doubled and came home two batters later on a single by Melvin Mora. Arizona had runners on first and second with one out in the fourth before starter Barry Enright (0-1) grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Enright lasted six innings and was charged with four runs on nine hits. Sam Demel came on in relief and gave up Berkman’s solo home run in the seventh.
“I lose my aggressiveness sometimes,” Enright said. “You get a few guys on base and you start trying to place the ball instead of going after people.”
The Cardinals scored three more runs in the ninth off reliever Juan Gutierrez, on Berkman’s two-run shot and Jay’s solo drive over the right-field fence.
Notes: The Diamondbacks will make up their snowed-out April 3 game with Colorado on May 24 as part of a day-night doubleheader in Denver. … Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald is scheduled to take batting practice with the Diamondbacks before Tuesday’s game to prepare for his upcoming charity softball event. … Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa called former big-league shortstop and current Diamondbacks bench coach Alan Trammell his “favorite player of all time,” and openly lobbied for more Hall of Fame votes for Trammell, who has come up short 10 times. … Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson isn’t worried about low crowd turnouts even though the Diamondbacks are off to an encouraging start. “We owe it to ourselves and baseball and our organization and the fans that do show up to give it everything we have and don’t give in to anything,” Gibson said. After a crowd of 48,027 last Friday for the home opener, attendance has been no higher than 20,719 in the next three games.
Copyright Associated Press