Rolen looks to build upon one of the best games of his career as the Cardinals continue their three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium.
The third baseman hit a go-ahead, three-run double and added two-run single in a 10-run eighth inning Tuesday, driving in a career-high six runs to lead the Cardinals to a 13-5 win over the Pirates.
“That felt like a pretty good month, that inning,” Rolen said. “I’m happy about driving in six runs and I felt they were big runs, the first four anyway.”
Even without Pujols, the hottest hitter in the majors, the Cardinals snapped a three-game skid and moved into second place in the NL Central, one game behind the first-place Houston Astros.
Pujols, who has a 30-game hitting streak and leads the majors with a .371 average, dropped his appeal of a two-game suspension Tuesday and began serving the penalty immediately.
He decided to accept the suspension for punching San Diego catcher Gary Bennett on July 13 because he would have missed Tuesday’s game anyway due to flulike symptoms that also sidelined him Sunday in Philadelphia.
“I’ve seen some crazy things,” Pittsburgh catcher Jason Kendall said. “It’s definitely not over till it’s over. You can only do one thing and that’s put it behind you and go get them (Wednesday).”
STANDINGS: Pirates - 4th place, 8 GB, NL Central. Cardinals - 2nd place, 1 GB, NL Central.
PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Jeff D’Amico (7-12, 4.28 ERA). D’Amico is 1-2 with a 7.85 ERA over his last three starts, including Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the Cardinals. The right-hander surrendered four runs and 10 hits over six innings, striking out five and walking one. D’Amico is 3-2 with a 5.21 ERA in seven career appearances against St. Louis, including six starts.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Garrett Stephenson (7-11, 4.23 ERA). Stephenson is 3-1 with a 2.09 ERA over his last four starts, allowing more than one run just once. The right-hander yielded just one run and five hits over eight innings of Thursday’s win over the Pirates. Stephenson has thrived in his career against Pittsburgh, going 6-2 with a 3.65 ERA in 11 career appearances, including 10 starts.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Pirates - Kendall, .311 avg. and 69 runs; Reggie Sanders, 27 HRs and 9 SBs; Brian Giles, 67 RBIs. Cardinals - Pujols, .371 avg., 34 HRs, 108 RBIs and 108 runs; Edgar Renteria, 25 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Cardinals, 9-6.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Pirates - Since May 25, Pittsburgh has the best record in the NL Central at 32-26. … Pirates pitchers have allowed 18 homers in the last 12 games. … OF Sanders is hitting .341 (29-for-89) over his last 23 games with nine doubles, one triple, 11 homers and 25 RBIs. Cardinals - Cardinals pitchers have given up nine homers in the last four games. … SS Renteria, batting third with OF Pujols serving his suspension, went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored Tuesday. He is hitting .383 (36-for-94) over his last 25 games with two homers and 13 RBIs. … 1B Martinez hit his fourth homer in seven games Tuesday and is hitting .333 (9-for-27) with 10 RBIs during the stretch.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Pirates - 29-30 on the road; Cardinals - 35-25 at home.
INJURIES: Pirates - RHP Salomon Torres (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Kris Benson (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL; INF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL; INF Pokey Reese (thumb), 60-day DL. Cardinals - C Joe Girardi (back), 15-day DL; C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; 2B Fernando Vina (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF J.D. Drew (oblique), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Morris (ankle), 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.