ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — The baseball was carrying on a bright, hot day at Busch Stadium as the Cardinals (49-43) were able to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks (49-43) 4-2 in the rubber game match of the four-game series. After dropping the first two games of the series, the Cardinals split the set with Arizona and end up taking four out of seven games on the home stand leading into the All-Star break.

Manager Tony LaRussa summed up in one word how his team finished the series:

An early 2-0 lead did not last, but a David Freese two-run opposite field homer, his 3rd of the season, gave the Cardinals the lead for good as Jaime Garcia and the bullpen locked down the D-Backs’ bats for most of the afternoon.

Even D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson noticed that his club had just four runners in scoring position on Sunday:

Starter Jaime Garcia (9-3, 3.22) had another strong outing that lasted 6.0 innings. Besides a two-run homer to Ryan Roberts in the second inning to tie the game 2-2, the Diamondbacks could not get anything more off of Jaime Garcia. Lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth, Garcia allowed 7 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5 batters.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Garcia, winner of his past three, is now 6-1 at Busch Stadium with a 1.14 ERA in nine starts. He leads the pitching staff with nine wins heading into the break.

Following Garcia, starter turned reliever Lance Lynn did a great job getting a close game to the ninth by pitching two scoreless innings. Lynn has not allowed a run in his previous three outings after getting roughed up for 3 runs last week in Tampa Bay.

Tony LaRussa likes what he’s seen out of his new hurler:

Lynn feels that he is more and more confident with each appearance:

Fernando Salas gave up a hit and faced the potential tying-run in the final at-bat, but struck out Miguel Montero to end the game and earn his 16th save. Salas has not given up a run since June 24.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

With the game tied 2-2 in the third, David Freese took an outside pitch and slugged his first homer in the hometown ballpark since May 2, 2010. It was also his first home run since returning from the disabled list.

Albert Pujols had another good day at the plate going 2-4 with a run scored and a double that he roped over left fielder Wily Mo Pena. Pujols went 5-9 with a home run, 4 RBI’s, and 2 runs scored in the three games he played this series.

Tony Cruz made his first career start in right field. Cruz made a nice sliding catch on a short fly out by Henry Blanco in the fourth. He would later be replaced in the sixth.

Diamondbacks starter Zach Duke (2-4, 5.47) pitched 6.0 innings giving up all 4 runs on 9 hits, a walk, and the home run to Freese. Formerly with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Duke has lost six times in eight career starts at Busch Stadium.

NOTES … RHP Jake Westbrook (7-4, 5.34) will open the second half for the Cardinals at Cincinnati on July 15, followed by Chris Carpenter (4-7, 3.85) and Jaime Garcia (9-3, 3.22) … After the win on Sunday, the Cardinals are 39-22 when scoring first … Tune into KMOX 1120 AM for the Charter Communications Pregame Show on Friday at 5:15pm.


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