Big League Stew - MLB

The STATS preview for today's Rockies-Cardinals game seems stuck on the point that Colorado has stopped Albert Pujols(notes) during its three wins to open the series. 

The point is mostly valid considering that Pujols is 1-for-10 against the purple guys, but he has hit a home run and he did post the quietest of rarities by putting up both of St. Louis' runs on Sunday with a two-run sacrifice fly in the first inning.

So, you know, even when you think Pujols isn't hurting you, he's hurting you twice more than expected. 

You can watch video of the play here and it's truly something to see. In typical Phat Albert fashion, Pujols drives the ball deep in the left-center gap where it was amazingly caught over the shoulder on the warning track by Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez(notes), the key prospect in the Matt Holliday(notes) trade.

Meanwhile, back on the base paths, Skip Schumaker(notes) trotted in from third and Colby Rasmus(notes) made it 180 feet from second to home without incident for the first two-run sac fly of '09. 

How rare is the feat? Well, two players — Joe Mauer(notes) and A.J. Pierzynski(notes)actually recorded two-run sacrifice flies in 2008, but the last person to do it before that duo was Cincinnati's Alex Ochoa in 2001. Elias reported that no Cardinals players had done it since the 1960s, but that Tommy Herr scored Willie McGee and Ozzie Smith with a selfless out in Game Four of the 1982 World Series.

Give that preview this, though. If Gonzalez doesn't come up with that grab, Pujols is likely standing on at least second with no outs. Instead, he's back in the dugouts and pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) is on his way to retiring the next 16 batters in the Rockies' 7-2 victory. As everyone in the bigs would agree, there's no shame in simply containing El Hombre.

In fact, it's an effective strategy for facing the Cardinals, given the rest of that lineup.  

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