Cincinnati (56-62) at St. Louis (77-40)

  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Tue Aug 17, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals seem to always have their way with the Cincinnati Reds.

The All-Star first baseman will look to continue his torrid hitting against Cincinnati when the league-leading Cardinals play the middle game of their series with the visiting Reds.

Pujols homered and drove in a career high-tying five on Monday in the Cardinals’ 10-5 victory. He has 20 career homers against Cincinnati—his most against any team—and is hitting .390 (23-for-59) with six home runs and 13 RBIs against the Reds this season.

The Cardinals are 12-2 against the Reds, including a pair of three-game sweeps. It’s the Reds’ worst showing against a team since they were 1-11 against San Diego in 1998.

“They’ve got everybody’s number. Are you kidding me?” Reds right-hander Aaron Harang said. “It’s just a good all-around team. They’ve got veteran guys that know how to play and they come to play every day.”

Pujols, who is playing with a painful heel condition, has hit five homers in his last four games, going 9-for-18 with 11 RBIs during that stretch. He leads the league with 101 runs scored.

The Cardinals have won 16 of 20 overall and lead the NL Central by 14 games, their biggest advantage since they were 14 games in front on Sept. 3, 1968. They went on to win the pennant that season.

The Reds, who got homers from Sean Casey, Darren Bragg and Juan Castro on Monday, have lost seven of 10.

Casey, one of the top hitters in the NL, is batting .400 (18-for-45) with three homers, four doubles and 11 RBIs over his last 11 games.

Cincinnati is 22-40 since June 6, when it led the Central by two games. The Reds are a season-high 21 1/2 games out of first.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Claussen WAS vs. M. Morris PIT
2-8 Record 15-10
6.14 ERA 4.72
45 K 131
35 BB 56
1.74 WHIP 1.29