The St. Louis Cardinals’ two-time All-Star will look to continue exploiting Pittsburgh pitching when the teams complete their four-game series at Busch Stadium.
Pujols, the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year, is batting .371 (62-for-167) in 43 career games against the Pirates, with 14 homers and 45 RBIs, his most against any opponent.
Pujols had a two-out RBI single in the ninth inning Sunday as St. Louis rallied for a 4-3 victory. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games, and raised his major league-leading average to .377.
“In this game, you’re going to lose a lot of games like this,” said Pujols, who is hitting .457 (16-for-35) against the Pirates this season. “Tomorrow, we’ve got to forget about this game and try and win that one. This one’s done.”
The Cardinals, who rallied from five runs down to beat the Pirates 10-8 on May 23, have won eight of their last 13 overall, and are now just 2 1/2 games behind NL Central-leading Houston, the closest they have been since July 17.
The Pirates are 6-5 since the All-Star break.
“We’ve got to put this one behind us,” Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We played extremely well and it’s unfortunate because we were one out away from getting a victory.”
STANDINGS: Pirates - 4th place, 8 1/2 GB, NL Central. Cardinals - 2nd place, 2 1/2 GB, NL Central.
PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Jeff Suppan (9-7, 3.82 ERA). Suppan is 4-0 with a 3.06 ERA and two complete games in his last five starts. The right-hander didn’t get a decision in the Pirates’ 6-5 win at Cincinnati on Wednesday, giving up five earned runs and a season-high 10 hits over seven innings. Suppan is 1-1 with an 8.10 ERA in two starts against the Cardinals this season, including a 7-3 win at Busch Stadium on May 30. In five career starts against St. Louis, he is 1-2 with a 5.70 ERA.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Brett Tomko (6-6, 5.89 ERA). Tomko won 8-4 at San Diego on Wednesday, improving to 4-1 in his last seven starts. The right-hander gave up three earned runs, 10 hits and struck out a season high-tying six in five innings. Tomko didn’t factor in the Cardinals’ 5-4 home win against the Pirates on June 1, allowing three earned runs and six hits over six innings. He is 3-3 with a 4.81 ERA in 10 career games, including nine starts, against Pittsburgh. Tomko is 0-3 with a 3.68 ERA at home this season.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Pirates - Jason Kendall, .303 avg. and 59 runs; Reggie Sanders, 17 HRs; Brian Giles, 52 RBIs; Pokey Reese and Sanders, 6 SBs. Cardinals - Pujols, .377 avg., 97 RBIs and 94 runs; Pujols and Jim Edmonds, 29 HRs; Edgar Renteria, 25 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Cardinals, 5-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Pirates - SS Wilson missed his third consecutive game with a strained groin. … C Kendall hasn’t homered since May 23 against St. Louis. … LF Giles went 0-for-3 Sunday and remains four hits shy of 1,000 in his career. He is also one homer shy of 200 for his career. Cardinals - The Cardinals are hitting .341 against RHP Suppan this season. … 1B Tino Martinez had two hits Sunday and is hitting .564 (6-for-11) in this series. … … CF Edmonds sat out Sunday with stiffness in his right shoulder.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Pirates - 25-26 on the road; Cardinals - 31-21 at home.
INJURIES: Pirates - SS Wilson (groin), day-to-day; RHP Brandon Lyon (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL; INF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL; INF Reese (thumb), 60-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 Matt Morris (hand), 15-day DL; RHP Russ Springer (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Kiko Calero (foot), 60-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL.