Ankiel Homers in Debut As Outfielder

The Associated Press
Thursday, August 9, 2007; 10:46 PM

ST. LOUIS -- Failed pitcher Rick Ankiel hit a three-run homer to cap his debut as a major league outfielder, and Joel Pineiro worked seven scoreless innings in the St. Louis Cardinals' 5-0 victory over the San Diego Padres on Thursday night.

The Cardinals took three of four from the NL West-contending Padres, spoiling the return of Chris Young in the finale.

The day began with utilityman Scott Spiezio going on the restricted list for a substance problem that the Cardinals did not specify, allowing for the callup of Ankiel to take his spot on the roster.

Ankiel, who led the Pacific Coast League with 32 homers for Triple-A Memphis, launched a 2-1 pitch from Doug Brocail over the right-field wall in the seventh with an effortless swing that put the Cardinals ahead 5-0.

The drive merited a standing ovation and a curtain call for the once-troubled left-hander, who quit pitching in spring training 2005 to begin the long climb back up the ladder as a 26-year-old minor league outfielder.

The homer was the third of Ankiel's career and the first since April 26, 2000, off Steve Woodard of the Brewers.

Young (9-4) was activated from the 15-day disabled list for a strained left side muscle before the start, and was fairly dominant until the Cardinals knocked him out in a four-run seventh when the first three runners reached base.

In six-plus innings, Young allowed four runs on three hits with five strikeouts and five walks, hiking his major league-leading ERA 20 points to 2.02.

Young had been 5-0 with a 1.02 ERA in his previous 11 starts since his last loss, also against the Cardinals on May 12 when he allowed five runs _ one earned _ in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-0 loss.

St. Louis didn't have a runner in scoring position until a two-out rally in the fourth capped by Yadier Molina's RBI single. Scott Rolen singled and Chris Duncan walked before Molina's hit.

The Cardinals chased Young with none out in the seventh after two walks and a wild pitch on ball four to pinch hitter So Taguchi that allowed in a run.

Pineiro, acquired from the Red Sox for a minor league player to be named, made his second start for his new team and retired the side in order three of his seven innings. He struck out four and walked none.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa batted the pitcher eighth for the sixth straight game in an effort to spark the World Series champions, who entered at 52-59. That ploy backfired in the fourth when Pineiro, batting after Molina's RBI single, struck out with two men on for the third out in the fourth.

Notes:@ In a statistical oddity, the Cardinals took three of four despite scoring in only four innings. ... Adam Kennedy was hitless in four at-bats in the ninth spot for the Cardinals and is 2-for-22 against the Padres. ... Padres closer Trevor Hoffman was not used in the four-game series, remaining one save shy of a 12th career 30-save season that would extend his own record.

© 2007 The Associated Press