Billed as a marquee matchup between the two sluggers, Bonds’ NL West-leading Giants have dominated Pujols and the Cardinals. They’ll look to complete a sweep of the four-game series at Busch Stadium.
Bonds homered twice and scored three runs in Wednesday’s 4-1 victory, giving San Francisco its third straight win and seventh in nine games.
The single-season home run king barely spoke to reporters after the game because he’s still upset about being misquoted in a San Francisco Chronicle article last week.
Bonds is reported to have said that Pujols was not the “next Bonds” because he doesn’t have good speed and hasn’t settled on one position.
“I didn’t like being misquoted on the Albert Pujols situation,” Bonds said. “That’s all I have to say.”
Pujols is just 1-for-12 in the series, his major league-leading average dipping to .379. He snapped an overall 0-for-13 slump—his worst of the season by three at-bats—with a single in the eighth inning Wednesday.
Bonds’ 637 career home runs are 23 behind Willie Mays for third on the all-time list. With Wednesday’s effort, Bonds has 63 multi-homer games in his career, moving past Hank Aaron and matching Mays for third place.
He also has 460 homers as a Giant, eight behind Willie McCovey for first place overall.
The Cardinals, who lead the NL in hitting, have scored just one run in each of the first three games of the series.
“As long as the game’s been played, if you pitch well you stop the hitting,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “That’s why people try to get good pitching, because that’s the most consistent part of the game. That, and defense.”
STANDINGS: Giants - 1st place, NL West. Cardinals - 1st place (tied), NL Central.
GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Kirk Rueter (7-2, 3.86 ERA). Rueter, who grew up close to St. Louis in nearby Hoyleton, Ill., is 5-0 with a 2.28 ERA in nine career regular-season starts against the Cardinals. Since winning five straight decisions from May 4-June 6, the veteran left-hander is 0-1 with a 5.55 ERA in his last four starts. He allowed six runs—five earned—and eight hits over a season-low four innings in San Francisco’s 8-7 win over Oakland on Saturday.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Jason Simontacchi (5-4, 6.57 ERA). Simontacchi, who has been used as both a reliever and starter this season, is 3-1 with a 5.98 ERA over his last five starts. The right-hander is coming off his worst start of the season, allowing six runs and eight hits over just 3 1-3 innings in St. Louis’ 13-9 win over Kansas City on Saturday. In two career starts against the Giants, Simontacchi is 0-0 with a 2.31 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Giants - Ray Durham, .318 avg.; Bonds, 24 HRs, 50 RBIs and 58 runs; Bonds, Durham and Marquis Grissom, 7 SBs. Cardinals - Pujols, .379 avg., 72 RBIs and 74 runs; Jim Edmonds, 25 HRs; Pujols and Edgar Renteria, 18 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Giants, 3-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Giants - San Francisco is off to its best start since opening the 1993 season 55-28. … The Giants’ 37 errors are the third fewest in the majors behind Seattle and Philadelphia. … SS Rich Aurilia returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing five starts with a strained left abdomen. He went 0-for-4. Cardinals - 3B Scott Rolen is one of the few Cardinals to have success against LHP Rueter, batting .375 with one double, one triple, one homer and four RBIs in 16 career at-bats. … OF Pujols repeated as NL player of the month, taking the honor for June after batting .429 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs. … RHP Dustin Hermanson, designated for assignment on June 18, was released Wednesday after refusing a demotion to Triple-A Memphis. The Cardinals are responsible for his $900,000 salary.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Giants - 26-17 on the road; Cardinals - 25-18 at home.
INJURIES: Giants - INF J.T. Snow (groin), 15-day DL; OF Marvin Benard (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Kurt Ainsworth (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Robb Nen (shoulder), 15-day DL. Cardinals - C Joe Girardi (back), 15-day DL; C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; INF Miguel Cairo (hand), 15-day DL; INF Fernando Vina (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Russ Springer (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Kiko Calero (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL.