Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa played the percentages by starting Jeff Weaver instead of Jeff Suppan in game two of the National League Division Series. Weaver rewarded LaRussa's faith with five strong innings for the win and a 2-0 series lead for the Cards.
Working around a shaky first inning in which he surrendered two walks, Weaver relied on a sharp breaking curveball to hold the Padres to two hits before turning the game over to the bullpen to start the sixth.
The veteran midseason pickup entered the game 4-1 with an ERA of 4.03 on the road for St. Louis but has struggled at home, going 1-3 with a hefty 6.52 ERA at Busch Stadium.
Albert Pujols continued his timely hitting in the fourth inning. Preston Wilson opened the frame with a double off Padres starter David Wells and came around to score on a Pujols single.
Pujols was trapped in a rundown between first and second after the throw was cut off but a mental mistake by Todd Walker left second base uncovered, allowing him to advance safely.
An infield single by Jim Edmonds two batters later scored Pujols easily and gave the Cards a 2-0 lead in the game and the series.
St. Louis will send right-hander Suppan to the hill Saturday as they go for the sweep and an end to the Padres season.