St. Louis Cardinals defeat Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-2

Manager Tony La Russa said that veteran Jason LaRue, Fu Manchu facial hair and all, personified the qualities the Cardinals desired to put in the sometimes undesirable role of backup catcher.

He's a veteran. He's solid behind the plate. Love the arm. He understands the job.

All those traits led the Cardinals back to LaRue.

One trait brought LaRue back to the Cardinals.

"For me, I'm at the point in time in my career where I want to win, I want to go to the playoffs...

Despite a 9-7 record last year at Busch Stadium, Cardinals righthander Todd Wellemeyer wasn't really all that good at home, compiling a relatively high 4.33 earned-run average.

But that was a lot better than what had happened this year in three starts at Busch - Wellemeyer had given up a whopping 30 hits and 15 runs in 15 innings.

On Thursday, Wellemeyer gave the home crowd of 41,928 a much better show.

In winning for the third time in five decisions, 5-2 over Pit...