Kazmir finds form as Morales, Angels outpace Cardinals

ST. LOUIS -- Scott Kazmir reached the tipping point early when Matt Holliday homered for the first time in more than a month leading off the second inning. The next time the St. Louis Cardinals got a hit, the Los Angeles Angels had a six-run cushion.

"I just did him a favor, hung him a changeup," Kazmir said. "It kind of lit the fire under me a little bit."

The left-hander ended a string of three straight losses with his best outing of the season and the offense backed him with 13 hits in a 10-7 victory on Saturday.

Kendry Morales had a pair of RBI doubles for a three-hit game and Mike Napoli had a two-run homer. The Angels have won three of four and became the first team to score in double figures against the Cardinals. Kevin Frandsen also had three hits.

"The team looks pretty good offensively and Kazmir pitched his butt off," said Torii Hunter, who had two RBIs. "All of a sudden, we're starting to click."

Kazmir (3-4) faced a little more adversity after Holliday ended a 107 at-bat homer drought, walking the next two hitters. Then he retired the next 17 in a row, allowing three hits in seven innings to match his season high while winning on the road for the first time in four decisions.

"The whole day was encouraging for Scott," manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's the way he can pitch. He has the potential to do that every time out."

Kazmir allowed 14 earned runs in 16 1/3 innings the previous three starts although his last outing showed improvement, when he gave up four runs in seven innings in a 4-3 loss to Texas. The biggest adjustment has been working more inside.

"It's tough to do it on the fly but I've been doing that my whole career," Kazmir said. "Every bullpen session, every time I'm just playing catch I'm working on stuff, just trying to get back to where it feels good."

It looked pretty good to the Cardinals, especially considering Kazmir entered with a 6.51 ERA.

"He used to throw it hard but couldn't control the ball good," Albert Pujols said. "Now he doesn't have the velocity that he wants, but he's keeping the ball down pretty well and mixing his pitches."

Holliday added an RBI double after returning to the cleanup slot, although Pujols was 0 for 4 batting third. The Cardinals went 4-1 with their new-look lineup but both stars had been mostly quiet, Holliday going 4 for 18 with two RBIs and Pujols 6 for 16 with a double and no RBIs.

The homer was Holliday's first since April 19, and his first at home since a game-winner against the Cubs last Sept. 18. The longest homer drought of his career is 137 at-bats from Sept. 8, 2004 to May 15, 2005.

"It's a sign of having a decent swing," Holliday said.

Hideki Matsui and Hunter had two RBIs apiece in a five-run third against Kyle Lohse (1-4), who contributed to the damage with a throwing error and two walks. Napoli's two-run homer off Trever Miller in the fifth made it 8-2.

The Cardinals needed 5 2/3 innings from the bullpen for a two-day total of 11 2/3 innings after Lohse was knocked around for six runs in 3 1/3 innings. Lohse lasted one more out than Brad Penny had on Friday night before leaving with an upper back strain that landed him on the 15-day disabled list.

Lohse said forearm tightness that hampered him much of last season returned and worried he might land on the DL, too. He was 6-10 with a 4.74 ERA last year, winning only twice after getting hit by a pitch in the right forearm while squaring to bunt on May 23.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't in the back of my mind," Lohse said. "It was kind of a similar feeling to last year, and it ended up the same way.

"After fastballs, I feel like I've got to stretch it."

Rookie P.J. Walters, recalled from Triple-A Memphis to replace Penny, worked the last four innings and gave up two runs and three hits. Howie Kendrick and Bobby Abreu each had an RBI in the eighth for a 10-4 lead. Skip Schumaker and Felipe Lopez had RBIs in a three-run ninth for St. Louis.

Game notes
Angels leadoff hitter Erick Aybar lost control of his bat in consecutive plate appearances, flinging it well past 1B in the fourth and just to the right of Pujols at 1B in the sixth. ... Miller has allowed only one of 14 inherited runners to score after working out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth. ... The first two games of the three-game interleague series have attracted sellout crowds, giving the Cardinals five on the year.