The St. Louis Cardinals have ridden their high-powered offense to the best record in the majors.
They’ll try to extend their winning streak to seven games when they open a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium.
Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds both homered in the first inning Thursday, and Jeff Suppan won his fifth straight start as the Cardinals completed a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres with a 7-2 win.
Edmonds and Pujols each homered three times in the series for the Cardinals, who have won 11 of their last 13 games. Edmonds has eight homers in his last seven games. Pujols, who matched his career high with his 43rd homer of the season, finished 8-for-12 with six RBIs in the series and has homered in four straight games.
“He is incredible,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa.
Edmonds drove in three runs Thursday, giving him 101 for the season and giving the Cardinals three 100-RBI men for the second time in franchise history. Scott Rolen leads the NL with 116, and Pujols has 106.
Pujols, Rolen and Edgar Renteria all reached the 100-RBI plateau last season.
After losing 22 of their first 45 games this season, the Cardinals have lost just 22 of the last 88.
“Our best baseball is ahead of us,” La Russa said. “I really believe that.”
While the Cardinals have opened a 16-game lead on the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central, the Dodgers are trying to take similar control in the NL West. Los Angeles, which has a 6 1/2 -game advantage over the San Francisco Giants, has won four of its last five.
Los Angeles, which is 6-4 on a 13-game road trip, will now look for Jose Lima to rebound from a disappointing outing.
Lima suffered his first loss in two months on Aug. 25, allowing six runs and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 6-3 loss to the Montreal Expos. He also surrendered four home runs.
“I was up in the zone and they put the ball in play,” Lima said. “I’m not quitting. Jose Lima never quits. Tomorrow I’m going to come out and be a cheerleader for my team.”
The 31-year-old right-hander had been 5-0 with a 2.97 ERA in his previous 10 starts.