“It’s always fun to hit,” Martinez said. “It’s a great lineup to hit in to begin with. But hitting behind Albert, you know he’s going to be on base all the time.”
That was the case Saturday. Pujols went 4-for-5 with two doubles to increase his major league-leading average to .376. He now has an NL-high 44 multihit games and has hit in at least 10 straight games for the third time this season. Pujols is second to Preston Wilson in the NL with 96 RBIs.
“He’s a phenomenon because he’s so young,” Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We didn’t do a very good job against him.”
“That’s pretty good after a tough game last night, Pujols said. “We needed to come out and score right away.”
The hit everyone was talking about, however, was Jason Isringhausen’s bases-loaded triple in the eighth for his first hit with the Cardinals.
“I haven’t hit since ’98,” Isringhausen said. “I was told not to swing, but I just couldn’t help myself.”
Isringhausen got an out in the eighth and gave up two runs in the ninth before financing for his eighth save in nine opportunities.
Cardinals starter Woody Williams (14-3) benefited from St. Louis’ offensive outburst. He won his fourth straight start, allowing five runs and eight hits over a shaky 5 2-3 innings.
“I was lucky to get a win,” Williams said.
The Cardinals scored seven runs off Pittsburgh starter Josh Fogg (6-5), who is 1-4 with an 8.49 ERA in six career starts against the Cardinals. Fogg lasted only four innings and allowed 10 hits.
The loss snapped the Pirates’ three-game winning streak.
“Our offense did a great job, but I was lousy,” Fogg said. “I didn’t have anything. I couldn’t get my fastball over and I couldn’t keep my curveball down. You have to have something out there and I didn’t have anything.”
Pittsburgh scored runs in the first and second innings on RBI singles by Brian Giles and Jason Kendall. But Williams blanked the Pirates over the next three innings, allowing only one hit in that span.
After Pujols tied the game in the first inning with an RBI single, he gave the Cardinals the lead for good in the second with a two-run, two-out double over Matt Stairs’ head in left field. Pujols then scored on a ground-rule double to left by Martinez to make it 4-2.
Rolen gave St. Louis a 7-2 lead with his 21st homer, a three-run shot to left-center with two outs in the fourth.
The Pirates chased Williams in the sixth by scoring three times on a two-run single by Jeff Reboulet and an RBI single by Abraham Nunez. But the Cardinals got two of those runs back in the bottom of the inning on RBI hits by Pujols and Martinez off Pirates reliever Julian Tavarez.
Pittsburgh added a run in the seventh on Jose Hernandez’s RBI groundout offJason Simontacchi.
Pittsburgh entered the day with the same record as last year after 100 games (47-53). … Williams has four of the Cardinals’ nine wins this month. … Nunez’ first inning triple was the 21st for the Pirates, one more than last year when Pittsburgh established a team record for fewest triples in a season. … St. Louis is 35-14 in games started by Williams since he was acquired in 2001. … Pirate relievers had surrendered just five earned runs in their previous 32 innings before Tavarez was torched for two runs in one inning of work Saturday. … Bo Hart, who entered the game in a 5-for-38 skid, had twosingles in five at-bats for his 13th multihit game in 33 starts.