Ellis bunt, 4 relievers help Cardinals top Phils
ST. LOUIS (AP) — 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.
“I thought the ’pen was terrific, too,” Matheny said. “Those guys are doing a good job getting through the game when our starters may not be able to go too deep.”
Cody Asche drove in all three Philadelphia runs with a bases-loaded double in the second.
Asche, who grew up in nearby O’Fallon, was playing his first series in front of family and friends.
“It’s fun to step in and contribute,” Asche said. “I wish we could have taken the last two games and completed the perfect road trip. But we’ve got some confidence.”
The Phillies won the first five games of the seven-game swing. Jimmy Rollins had a 15-game hitting streak snapped.
Kyle Kendrick (3-7) allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings. He gave up just one hit over the first three innings before St. Louis scored four times in the fourth.
“That one big inning hurt,” Kendrick said. “They got some hits and I wasn’t able to minimize the damage.”
Jon Jay got the inning going with an RBI single with the bases loaded. Jhonny Peralta followed with a tying, two-run single and Ellis bunted home the go-ahead run.
“I like the way they went about putting together some tough at-bats,” Matheny said. “Just nice consistent approaches at the plate, not trying to do too much.”
NOTES: The Phillies announced after the game that RHP Ethan Martin (0-0, 4.50) has been sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley of the International League. RHP B.J. Rosenberg will be recalled. Rosenberg is 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA. Manager Ryne Sandberg said Martin just “needs to get some innings in.”... Matheny had the No. 57 written on his left arm to honor former St. Louis pitcher Darryl Kile, who died 12 years ago Sunday. ... The Phillies begin an eight-game homestand Monday with the first of four games against Miami. Roberto Hernandez (3-5, 4.52) will face Nathan Eovaldi (4-3, 3.76) in the opener. ... St. Louis starts a 10-game road trip Monday with the first of three games in Colorado. Lance Lynn (7-5, 3.15) will take on Jhoulys Chacin (2-2, 4.65). ... The previous three St. Louis games prior to Sunday lasted exactly 2 hours and 48 minutes. This one took 2:54. ... St. Louis OF Matt Holliday hit in the No. 2 spot in the batting order for the first time this season. The Cardinals have used 11 different players in that slot this season.