La Russa returns as Cardinals beat Phillies

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - The St. Louis Cardinals welcomed manager Tony La Russa back to the dugout and extended the drought of Philadelphia's Cliff Lee with a 3-1 victory over the Phillies on Monday.

La Russa's return from an absence of six games because of a virus ended the Cardinals (23-19) three-game losing streak.

St. Louis starter Jake Westbrook pitched seven innings and allowed just one run to out-pitch Lee, who has not won a start since April 14 -- a stretch of six games.

"It was a great performance by (Westbrook)," Cardinals teammate Nick Punto told reporters after aiding his pitcher with an RBI in the fourth inning. "When you're facing a guy like (Lee) you're just in there battling. It was nice to get a couple hits."

Ryan Theriot also hit a RBI single for the Cardinals in the fourth inning to give the home side a 2-1 lead, and Jon Jay added an RBI single in the seventh to end Lee's game.

Lee fell to just 2-4 on the season after walking six batters and allowing all three runs in 6 1/3 innings.

St. Louis, without injured third baseman David Freese, started first baseman Albert Pujols at third base for the first time since 2002.

"The whole thing centered on Albert," La Russa said. "Albert volunteered to play third. I wouldn't have really come forward unless we had a lot more reasons to do it."

Pujols enjoyed a comfortable night at third but it did not help him turn things around at the plate as he finished 0-for-4. The 31-year-old, a career .329 hitter, is averaging just .259 this season.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)