“Everybody asks me and says that I own these guys,” Thome said. “I think the problem is we think a little too much about it and talk a little too much about it.
“It’s the same from a preparation standpoint whether it’s the Cardinals or anybody else.”
Pat Burrell also homered twice for the Phillies, giving him 101 for his career. The Phillies ended a three-game losing streak by beating the Cardinals for the seventh consecutive time, rebounding from getting swept at Milwaukee.
“I won’t say we were in trouble, but we really needed this,” Thome said. “You can’t mope and you can’t dwell on what’s happened in the past, you just have to worry about what’s happening and just go forward.”
Earlier Friday, the Cardinals added pitching for the stretch run, acquiring left-hander Sterling Hitchcock from the New York Yankees for two prospects and right-hander Mike DeJean from the Milwaukee Brewers for two players to be named. Hitchcock, who was squeezed out of the Yankees’ rotation, will be a starter for the Cardinals.
Mike Matheny had two hits and two RBIs and rookie Dan Haren had a strong outing for the Cardinals, allowing two runs in six innings.
Thome’s two-run shot on a full-count pitch from Steve Kline (4-5) with one out in the eighth put the Phillies ahead 5-4. He also connected off Haren in the fourth, his 37th.
It was the first homer the left-handed Kline has allowed to a left-handed hitter this season in 83 at-bats, and he flung his glove into the dugout on his way off the field. Kline had thought his 2-2 pitch should have been a strike.
“I wanted it, but they weren’t going to give it to me,” Kline said. “Jim Thome vs. Steve Kline, do the math.”
Thome has hit five homers in his last four games against the Cardinals and is 22-for-49 (.449) against St. Louis for his career with 13 homers and 27 RBIs. This was his 31st career multihomer game, the fifth this year, and second in nine days.
Pujols missed four games with flulike symptoms that began to drain him last Sunday—and also served a two-game suspension during that time. He was a surprise addition to the lineup Friday after complaining he still felt weak about three hours before gametime.
Pujols batted .390 during the streak, the longest in the majors this year. He grounded out twice, once into a double play, and struck out twice, and left batting a major league-leading .367. He lined out to short to end the game and was 0-for-5.
“I felt good,” Pujols said. “I can’t make an excuse that I went 0-for-5 because I had a week off. I got my pitches to hit and I didn’t do anything with them.”
Jose Mesa fell behind 2-0 in the count before retiring Pujols.
“I would have hated for his streak to end on a four-pitch walk,” manager Larry Bowa said. “Jose did a great job going right at him.”
Rheal Cormier (4-0) worked two hitless innings.
Matheny, who had been in a 1-for-18 slump, had run-scoring singles in the fourth and sixth. The latter put the Cardinals ahead 3-2, and pinch hitter Orlando Palmeiro added a sacrifice fly in the inning for a two-run lead.
St. Louis regained the lead in the fourth when Scott Rolen hit a leadoff double and scored on a two-out single by Matheny. The Phillies tied it again in the sixth on a leadoff triple by Marlon Byrd and a run-scoring groundout by Placido Polanco.
The Phillies made it 9-4 on RBI singles by Polanco and Bobby Abreu.
Byrd had two hits and is 10-for-19 on the trip. … Bobby Abreu was 2-for-5 and is 16-for-37 during a nine-game hitting streak. … Kerry Robinson stole second and third on consecutive pitches in the third. Phillies catchers have thrown out only 16 of 113 would-be basestealers. … Thome’s last two-homer game came Aug. 13 against the Brewers. … Thome and Burrell homered in the same game for only the second time this season, also doing it April 9 against the Braves. … Both benches cleared briefly after a couple of inside pitches from Yan against Byrd in the ninth. … Pujols’ streak was tied withStan Musial (1950) for the second-longest in franchise history.