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Alex Pietrangelo Signs 7 Year Deal

Friday, 13 September 2013 23:23 Published in Sports

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Blues and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo agreed on a seven-year, $45.5 million contract with a no-trade clause over the final three years, ending a brief holdout.

The deal was announced Friday, one day after the first practice of training camp. General manager Doug Armstrong said it was a strong signal that the Blues intend for the 23-year-old Pietrangelo, the fourth overall pick of the 2008 draft and one of the top offensive defensemen in the NHL, to spend his career in St. Louis.

A news conference for Armstrong and Pietrangelo (Pet-TRANJ'-el-oh) was set for Saturday.

"What I said to him, 'This isn't a seven-year deal, this is just another steppingstone," Armstrong said. "I think he's excited to be here, I know we're excited to have him, get him in here and turn him over to the coach."

The Blues had hoped to get a deal before training camp but talks briefly broke down. Armstrong said negotiations resumed Thursday and "we were able to wrap up all the loose ends that were there."

Pietrangelo tweeted, "Really excited to be a part of Blues organization for the next 7 years."

He will average $6.5 million on a deal that will gradually escalate, making $5 million this season and peaking at $7.5 million in the final season.

"It's something that's ongoing because both sides wanted to get it done, and a lot of credit goes to ultimately Alex," Armstrong said. "As we said a couple days ago, Alex makes these decisions. Not his agent, not anyone else. Today, when I talked to him he was satisfied."

Players got the news coming off the ice.

Forward David Backes, the team captain, called Pietrangelo a "supreme talent" who is able to shut down the opposition's top forward without sacrificing offense.

"He's a top defenseman in this league, no question," Backes said. "To know that he's with us, we can knock that distraction off the list, kind of that peripheral noise. We know that we've got our guys together."

Pietrangelo led the team's defensemen with 24 points — five goals and 19 assists — and was among the league leaders with an average of 25 minutes per game. He's been a regular the past three seasons.

Armstrong said it had been a matter of when — not if — the parties agreed on a deal. Backes pointed out that Pietrangelo has "set some roots."

"You knew that he was going to be here long term, you just didn't know how much the business side was going to get in the way," Backes said. "In the end, there's a lot of happy people on both sides.

"After he takes a little bit of razzing from the guys for not being here, he'll be right back in the group and together with us like he should be."

Coach Ken Hitchcock didn't think it would take Pietrangelo long to catch up with the rest of the team. The Blues open the preseason Sunday at Dallas.

"We kept him up to date until we couldn't speak to him anymore," Hitchcock said. "He knows the last couple weeks what's going on ... players have kept him up to date."

Cards retake NL Central lead, win on passed ball

Friday, 13 September 2013 23:19 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Pete Kozma scored on catcher Mike Zunino's passed ball with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals retook the NL Central lead with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

The Cardinals lead the division by a game after Pittsburgh lost. They're 6-1 on a nine-game homestand.

Kozma entered in the eighth inning as a pinch-runner, later stole third base and scored the tying run.

In the 10th, Kozma singled with two outs off Chase Ruffin (0-2). Oliver Perez walked Matt Carpenter and Jon Jay to load the bases.

Zunino couldn't handle the first pitch to Matt Holliday, with the ball rolling free and Kozma scoring on a head-first slide.

Rookie Kevin Siegrist (3-1) worked around two hits in the 10th for the win. He has not allowed a run in 19 1-3 innings.

Zunino homered for the Mariners, who have lost a franchise-record 13 games in extra innings, including their last six in a row.

The Cardinals have won their last four extra-inning games. Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina helped them get there this time, throwing out pinch-runner Endy Chavez and Dustin Ackley when they tried to steal in the ninth.

Hisashi Iwakuma allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings for Seattle.

Adam Wainwright allowed a run in eight innings. The 16-game winner was hurt only by Zunino's 435-foot homer in the fifth.

Seattle second baseman Nick Franklin dropped pinch-hitter Brock Peterson's towering pop fly in the eighth for a two-base error that helped the Cardinals tie it. Kozma and stole third on Carpenter's full-count walk, then scored on Jay's grounder off Charlie Furbush.

The Cardinals struggled against Milwaukee pitching the previous series, with Wily Peralta and Marco Estrada both carrying no-hit bids into the sixth. St. Louis also struggled against Iwakuma, and one of the biggest cheers came when the final score was posted for the Pirates' 5-4 loss to the Cubs.

Zunino had been 4 for 30 in 10 games since coming off the 15-day disabled list from a broken left hand that sidelined him more than a month. He connected for his third homer of the season and first since July 22.

NOTES: Iwakuma topped 200 innings for the season in the fourth. ... It was 70 degrees at gametime, a 25-degree drop from two days earlier. ... 2B Carpenter hit his major league-leading 49th double in the third and made the defensive play of the game in the seventh with a sliding stab in the outfield grass and throw to rob Zunino of a hit. ... A pair of rookies get the call on Saturday night, with Michael Wacha (3-0, 2.72) making his seventh career start for the Cardinals and James Paxton (1-0, 1.50) making his second career start for Seattle. ... Former Cardinals 3B Ken Oberkfell threw the ceremonial first pitch. ... Kyle Seager started his 100th consecutive game at 3B, extending his Mariners' franchise record. ... Mariners radio rookie play-by-play man Aaron Goldsmith called a game in his hometown for the first time.

Brewers win 5-3 to end Cardinals' 5-game streak

Thursday, 12 September 2013 22:31 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Tyler Thornburg threw six solid innings and Sean Halton homered to lead the Milwaukee Brewers over St. Louis 5-3 on Thursday night, snapping the Cardinals' five-game winning streak.

St. Louis fell into a tie with Pittsburgh for the top spot in the NL Central. Both teams are 85-61 with 16 games remaining. The idle Cincinnati Reds are 2 1/2 back.

Milwaukee broke a three-game losing streak against St. Louis and beat the Cardinals for only the fourth time in 16 meetings this season.

The Cardinals are 5-1 on their nine-game homestand.

Thornburg (2-1), making his eighth career start, gave up two runs and three hits. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Nashville, going 0-9 with a 5.79 ERA in 15 starts.

Thornburg struck out six and walked two. He has allowed two runs or fewer and gone six innings in all five major league starts this season.

Jim Henderson earned his 25th save in 29 opportunities.

Halton, who had three RBIs, hit a two-run homer off Joe Kelly (8-4) in the fourth to put the Brewers up 4-0. Halton also had a run-scoring single in the second.

Kelly allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits in five innings. He won his previous five starts, and the Cardinals had won his last eight.

Matt Adams hit a two-out solo homer in the ninth, his 13th of the season.

The Brewers scored single runs in each of the first two innings. Scooter Gennett and Jonathan Lucroy singled in the first, and Gennett came around on a groundout by Aramis Ramirez.

The Cardinals pulled to 4-2 in the fourth on a run-scoring double by Matt Holliday and a sacrifice fly by David Freese. They also put two on with one out in the sixth, but Thornburg retired Carlos Beltran and Freese to end the threat.

Norichika Aoki tripled in Yuniesky Betancourt in the ninth.

NOTES: St. Louis RHP Trevor Rosenthal missed the game. His wife, Lindsey, was in labor awaiting their first child. ... Cardinals C Yadier Molina missed his second successive game due to an illness to his mother, Gladys. General manager John Mozeliak said Molina could be back Friday. ... St. Louis 1B Allen Craig is making progress with his injured left foot. "We're still optimistic he'll play again," Mozeliak said. "He's feeling a lot better. It's one of those things where you're just going to have to let some time progress." Craig sustained a left mid-foot strain on Sept. 4. ... The Brewers begin a 10-game homestand Friday against Cincinnati. Kyle Lohse (9-9, 3.59 ERA) will face Reds RHP Mat Latos (14-5, 3.02) in the opener of a three-game series. ... St. Louis ends its homestand with three games against Seattle beginning Friday. Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (16-9, 3.03) faces Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.97).

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