ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Lance Berkman homered for the fourth time in four days and made the All-Star team again. The only downer Sunday was another loss for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Johnny Damon drove in four runs in Tampa Bay's 8-3 victory, and Jeremy Hellickson pitched into the eighth inning to stop a personal four-game losing streak.
``We just got beat,' St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said after the Cardinals dropped two of three to Tampa Bay. ``I really don't have a whole lot to say. Credit to the other side. Fundamentally we didn't play our best game. They scored more than we scored, so they pitched better and played better.'
Berkman hit an opposite-field two-run homer to left in the sixth, tying it at 3. He has 22 homers this season, including 18 on the road.
Berkman, who had just 14 homers and 58 RBIs coming back from a left knee injury last season with Houston and the New York Yankees, was informed before the game of his sixth All-Star selection and first since 2008.
``It is satisfying to be able to bounce back from the tough year last year and return to a level that I'd like to be at,' Berkman said. ``It's a high honor, obviously, but it's basically a reward for half a season. We've got to keep going. I'm thrilled to be on the team, but I'd like to have a strong second half, also.'
Damon, who had four hits in Saturday night's 5-1 win over the Cardinals, went 3 for 5 and moved past Harry Heilmann and Lave Cross into 69th place on the career hits list with 2,661. His three-run triple in the eighth made it 8-3.
``Things just happened to go right these past two games,' Damon said. ``We beat a very good team. A team that will possibly be playoff-bound and World Series-bound. It's good to beat a very good team, especially here at home, where we haven't been playing well.'
Hellickson (8-7) allowed three runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings.
Kyle Farnsworth pitched the final 1 2-3 innings for his 17th save, entering with a runner on second and one out. After retiring Matt Holliday on a fly ball to right and walking Berkman, the closer struck out David Freese.
Yadier Molina homered for the Cardinals. Kyle Lohse (8-5) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings.
B.J. Upton and John Jaso had RBI doubles in the sixth as Tampa Bay went ahead 5-3.
Elliot Johnson reached on a two-out bunt single in the fifth and scored when Damon doubled to deep right. Damon also crossed the plate on the play, making it 3-1, when second baseman Skip Schumaker was charged with an error for an errant relay throw home.
Molina put the Cardinals up 1-0 on a second-inning homer. The Rays tied it in the third when Jaso doubled and later scored on Johnson's grounder.
St. Louis right fielder Jon Jay made a nice sliding catch on Justin Ruggiano's fourth-inning fly ball with two on and two outs.
NOTES: Molina and Holliday also were also selected for the NL All-Star squad. ... Holliday played in the field after being the DH in the previous two games due to cold-like symptoms. ... Lohse started the season with a five-game road winning streak, but is 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA in his last four road outings.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved