ST. LOUIS - Four years ago, Scott Seabol popped out in his only major league at-bat with the New York Yankees. On Sunday, he beat the team that picked him in the 88th round of the 1996 draft with his first career home run.
Seabol's two-run, pinch-hit shot in the seventh inning provided the go-ahead run in the St. Louis Cardinals' 5-3 victory over the sputtering Yankees.
"I'm just looking for a pitch I can take a good swing at and hit it hard," Seabol said. "Fortunately, I kind of did both. I couldn't be happier."
Seabol, 30, had a little extra adrenaline for the Yankees, saying "I'd be lying if I said I didn't."
Yankees manager Joe Torre vaguely recalled Seabol.
"We had him for a handful of days," Torre said. "We knew he was strong, we knew he could do what we saw him do today. We just made a bad pitch."
The Cardinals concluded a high profile week by taking two of three from the Yankees, New York's fifth straight series loss, after taking two of three from the Red Sox in a World Series rematch.
"I don't think that anybody that watched us play the two series had any problem with how we went about it," manager Tony La Russa said. "We just played as hard as we could and the coaches and I, we have no complaints."
Randy Johnson's strong outing helped the Yankees win the middle game on Saturday, but the Cardinals haven't lost two straight games since May 6-7.
Eighth-place hitter Yadier Molina had three hits and scored twice, and singled ahead of Seabol's homer on the first pitch he saw from Tanyon Sturtze (1-1) with one out in the seventh. Seabol hit his first homer in 37 career at-bats for a 3-2 lead.
Jim Edmonds added a two-run double to help the Cardinals win for the 18th time in 21 interleague games dating to 2003. Ray King (1-1) gave up the go-ahead run on Hideki Matsui's single in the seventh but retired Bernie Williams for the final out of the inning.
The Yankees wasted a strong outing by Carl Pavano and wrapped up a dismal 3-9 trip that dropped them two games below.500. Jorge Posada homered, and Alex Rodriguez and Matsui each drove in a run for the Yankees, who have lost 11 of 14 overall despite a payroll of more than $200 million.
Torre summed up the trip as: "Terrible, I guess."
"We won three games and tried to build on it but we really couldn't put anything together," he said. "And if we're expecting to get back into the middle of it and get our confidence back, we need to start stacking some wins."
New York also lost Matsui, its iron man outfielder, with a right ankle injury in the seventh. Matsui slipped and fell while chasing Edmonds' double and had to be assisted from the field by Torre and a team trainer, although he walked without a limp.
"I should be OK," Matsui said through an interpreter. "They took X-rays and everything was negative so everything should be fine."
Matsui has played in 387 consecutive games since joining the Yankees and has a streak of 1,637 games counting his time with the Yomiyuri Giants in Japan.
Pavano, who had lost his previous three starts, worked six innings and gave up one run on six hits with two strikeouts and one walk. Cardinals starter Matt Morris had a similar line, also giving up a run on six hits in six innings with five strikeouts and three walks.
Both teams had failed rallies in the sixth. The Yankees had runners on second and third before Albert Pujols made a diving stop to his left on a smash by Pavano and then beat him to the bag for the third out. The Cardinals loaded the bases in the bottom half before Reggie Sanders grounded into a double play.
Molina doubled and scored on David Eckstein's RBI single through a drawn-in infield in the third to put the Cardinals ahead. The Yankees tied it on consecutive two-out hits in the fifth, a single by Tony Womack and Rodriguez's double.
Posada hit his eighth homer, and first since May 24, off Julian Tavarez in the eighth to cut the gap to 5-3.
Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his 18th save in 19 chances.
Notes: Womack received his NL championship ring from the Cardinals in a brief pregame ceremony, getting hugs from several ex-teammates.... A crowd of 50,372 was the ninth straight sellout for the Cardinals and the three-game total from the Yankees series was 150,799 - the largest at Busch Stadium since a manually operated scoreboard was installed in center field in 1997 and several thousand seats were removed.... Home plate umpire Derryl Cousins left the game after 4½ innings and was hospitalized due to an undisclosed illness. The game was delayed for several minutes before resuming with a three-man crew.
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