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Looper strong, Ankiel homers in win

Looper strong, Ankiel homers in win

at Jupiter, Fla.
Monday, March 12

Braves at the plate: Brian McCann lined out sharply, singled and doubled in three at-bats. Jeff Francoeur singled twice. T.J. Bohn hit an RBI single in the eighth inning to tie the game.

Cardinals at the plate: Rick Ankiel hit the first Cardinals home run at Roger Dean Stadium this spring when he went deep against Tyler Yates for a solo shot in the sixth. Ankiel also doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.

Braves on the mound: John Smoltz was extremely sharp, allowing one hit and one walk with four strikeouts in four scoreless innings. Smoltz has not permitted a run in nine innings over three Grapefruit League starts. Oscar Villareal walked one but allowed no hits in a scoreless fifth.

Cardinals on the mound: Braden Looper kept up his strong spring with 4 2/3 shutout frames. Looper allowed four hits, struck out three and didn't walk a batter; he's walked only one in 11 innings this spring. Randy Flores pitched 1 1/3 shutout innings of relief.

Grapefruit League records: Braves 8-3; Cardinals 8-4.

Up next: Atlanta plays the Astros under the lights in Orlando at Cracker Jack Stadium on Tuesday night, and it's a terrific matchup -- Tim Hudson versus Roy Oswalt. The Cardinals head west to face another ace, Johan Santana of the Twins. St. Louis will send Kip Wells to the mound against Minnesota.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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