Pujols’ streak is the longest in the majors this season and the Cardinals’ longest since Ken Boyer hit in 29 straight during the 1959 season. The longest streak in Cardinals history is Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby’s 33-game run in 1922.
In Friday’s series opener, Pujols singled, doubled and tripled in five at-bats, but it was not enough in a 7-4 loss to the Phillies. St. Louis had won five of its previous six.
With the loss, the Cardinals fell a half-game behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central and 3 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the wild card race.
Philadelphia, which leads the Florida Marlins by a half-game for the wild card, has won three straight after losing five of six.
Jim Thome and Ricky Ledee both homered to lead the Phillies on Friday. Thome’s two-run shot in the sixth earned him a curtain call from Phillies fans who lustily booed Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen, the former Phillie who refused to come out of the dugout and acknowledge the fans after hitting his second homer in a win over Montreal last season.
“It was great to get that,” Thome said, unaware that Rolen once spurned the fans.
Formerly a fan favorite in Philadelphia, Rolen was traded to St. Louis after turning down a lucrative contract extension from the Phillies last season. He went 0-for-4 Friday.
“I think the fans perceived it as he didn’t want to play in the city,” said Phillies manager Larry Bowa, who often clashed with Rolen. “I still respect the hell out of him.”
STANDINGS: Cardinals - 2nd place (tied), 1/2 GB, NL Central. Phillies - 2nd place, 12 GB, NL East.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Danny Haren (3-3, 3.74 ERA). Haren has won three of his last four decisions, including a 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday. The 22-year-old right-hander gave up one run and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings. Haren has never faced the Phillies.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Brett Myers (11-7, 3.78 ERA). Myers lost for the first time since June 11 on Sunday. He lasted just four innings in a 5-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants, giving up five runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking three. The 22-year-old right-hander did not get a decision in his only previous start against St. Louis despite not allowing an earned run over 6 1-3 innings.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cardinals - Pujols, .370 avg., 34 HRs, 108 RBIs and 108 runs; Edgar Renteria, 25 SBs. Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .319 avg.; Thome, 31 HRs, 90 RBIs and 79 runs; Jimmy Rollins, 16 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cardinals - RHP Matt Morris sprained his left ankle after a fall in the team hotel Friday. Already on the disabled list with a broken right index finger, he is expected to miss at least two more weeks. … LHP Pedro Borbon has given up 14 hits and nine runs in four innings since being recalled last month. … LF Pujols’ appeal of a two-game suspension stemming from an altercation with San Diego on July 12 wasn’t heard at the Vet on Friday as had been planned because of the blackout in New York on Thursday. Phillies - 2B Chase Utley is 4-for-6 with two RBIs in two games since being recalled from Triple-A Scranton. … RF Bobby Abreu is 8-for-13 (.615) in his last three games. … LHP Dan Plesac pitched a perfect ninth inning Friday for his first save of the season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cardinals - 30-33 on the road; Phillies - 37-26 at home.
INJURIES: Cardinals - C Joe Girardi (back), 15-day DL; C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; 2B Fernando Vina (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Morris (hand), 15-day DL; LHP Lance Painter (calf), 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. Phillies - 3B David Bell (back), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL.