Rick Ankiel isn't just hitting, he's turning into a force.
The pitcher-turned-outfielder homered twice and had a career-high seven RBIs, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates, 16-4, yesterday in a game shortened to eight innings because of rain.
The Cardinals moved within one game of NL Central co-leaders Chicago and Milwaukee, scoring their most runs since Aug. 29, 2001, against San Diego.
Ankiel hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-2 lead against Bryan Bullington (0-1). Ankiel made it 11-3 with a two-run drive in the fifth against John Grabow and added a two-run double in the sixth off Dave Davidson.
Brought up Aug. 9 in his first major league appearance since he pitched for the Cardinals in 2004, Ankiel is batting .358 with nine homers and 29 RBIs in 23 games. He also homered twice against the Dodgers Aug. 11.
He made his second start in center field, hauling in Josh Pearce's drive at the wall in the third. He barely missed a diving catch on pinch hitter Matt Kata's slicing drive that fell for a double in the fourth, getting a round of applause for the effort.
Mike Maroth, back from a bout of elbow tendinitis, allowed 2 runs, 6 hits, and 2 walks in 1 2/3 innings, throwing 54 pitches in his first appearance since Aug. 4.
Kelvin Jimenez (2-0) got one out for the win, throwing a called third strike past Jason Bay to end the second.
Angels 10, Indians 3 - Garret Anderson extended his streak to a club-record 11 games with at least one RBI, driving in three runs and leading Los Angeles past visiting Cleveland in the opener of a four-game series between AL division leaders.
Anderson had a run-scoring single in the fifth inning and a two-run homer in the eighth, breaking the previous franchise mark of 10 consecutive games with an RBI that was shared by Fred Lynn (1984) and Wally Joyner (1986).
Anderson has 21 RBIs during his streak, which began five games after he set another team record with 10 RBIs in an 18-9 victory over the Yankees Aug. 21. The three-time All-Star, who leads the majors with 56 RBIs since the All-Star break, was moved from the cleanup spot to the No. 3 hole after right fielder Vladimir Guerrero was scratched because of inflammation in his right triceps.
Dodgers 7, Cubs 4 - Pinch hitter Andre Ethier connected for a go-ahead, three-run homer off Ryan Dempster in the ninth inning as Los Angeles stunned Chicago at Wrigley Field.
Alfonso Soriano hit two homers for the Cubs, including a three-run drive in the seventh that put Chicago ahead, 4-2. But it wasn't enough to avoid a deflating defeat that dropped the Cubs into a first-place tie with idle Milwaukee in the NL Central. The Dodgers closed within 3 1/2 games of NL West-leading Arizona.
Matt Kemp's homer off reliever Bobby Howry closed the gap to 4-3 in the eighth, and the Dodgers took the lead in the ninth against Dempster (2-5), who blew a save for the third time in 28 chances.
Tigers 3, White Sox 2 - Sean Casey and Placido Polanco hit run-scoring singles off closer Bobby Jenks in the ninth inning, leading host Detroit past Chicago.
Detroit, which closed within three games of the wild-card-leading Yankees, trailed, 2-1, entering the ninth.