Cardinals 8, Pirates 1
PITTSBURGH (AP)—Albert Pujols has compiled impressive statistics in almost every place he’s played. They’re just a little better in Pittsburgh.
Pujols went 5-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs to lead the Cardinals to an 8-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
It was Pujols’ second career five-hit game, both coming at PNC Park, where he is hitting .412 (47-for-114) with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs since the park opened in 2001, his rookie season.
“I don’t think about the park,” Pujols said. “It doesn’t matter where it happens. Wherever we play, I try to do my best and help our team win.”
The Cardinals have at least 10 hits—13 Tuesday—in each of their last 14 visits to Pittsburgh, going 12-2. They are 20-6 overall in the Pirates new stadium. No visiting team has won more games there.
Pujols is batting .524 in his past 11 games, with seven home runs and 14 RBIs.
“He hits every place against everybody,” said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, whose team is 4-1 on its seven-game road trip and leads the NL in road victories, with a 17-9 record.
The Cardinals overcame the loss of Scott Rolen, who was hit in the batting helmet with a pitch by Ryan Vogelsong in the first inning. Rolen remained in the game and scored in the Cardinals’ three-run first, but was ordered out of the game in the bottom half. He was taken out for precautionary reasons and will be reevaluated Wednesday.
Rolen, who had a bump on his forehead, was diagnosed with a mild concussion.
“I’ve never been hit that hard,” he said. “At that time of the day, it’s hard to see the ball. I never saw it. I had no chance to even soften the blow.”
Asked if he had a headache, Rolen said, “Yeah. When you get hit with a 95-mph fastball in the head, a headache isn’t out of the question.”
Rolen did not hold a grudge against Vogelsong.
“I’ll tell you what, I’m a Vogelsong fan,” Rolen said. “He came out of the game and he called over to the clubhouse and asked me if I was all right and apologized. That’s first-class right there.”
La Russa, on the other hand, is not.
“Anytime you’re in the major leagues, you throw the ball inside, you have to get it below the shoulders,” La Russa said. “I mean, that’s inexcusable. It just doesn’t look real good when (Rolen) hits a three-run homer (Monday), and I believe he hit a three-run home run against that kid.”
Rolen hit a three-run home run off Vogelsong, last Thursday in St. Louis.
“He knows it wasn’t intentional,” Vogelsong said.
Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan (5-4) won for the second time in a week against his former team. He allowed six hits and a run, striking out four and walking two in seven-plus innings.
The Pirates dropped their third in a row after winning six of eight. They are 9-16 at home. St. Louis scored three times in the first against Vogelsong, who has allowed 20 first-inning runs in 10 starts. Opposing batters have hit .435 (20-for-46) in the first against him.
Ray Lankford walked, Pujols singled and Vogelsong then hit Rolen.
The Cardinals added two more runs in the second, the first on consecutive, two-out doubles by Tony Womack and Lankford. Pujols drove in Lankford with a sharp single to left.
Brian Boehringer relieved Vogelsong to begin the third.
Vogelsong (1-5) lost his fifth straight decision after winning his first start of the season. He allowed five hits and five runs, and struck out three.
Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said Vogelsong “as of right now” will make his next scheduled start, although he acknowledged that removing Vogelsong from the rotation is an option.
“I remain optimistic that this young man will get it together,” McClendon said. “My job is to make him better.”
Pujols made it 7-0 with a two-run home run off Boehringer in the fourth. Pujols lifted a 1-1 pitch over the left-field fence to tie Steve Finley, who hit two for Arizona, for the major league lead with 16. He tied career highs with three runs and two doubles.
Daryle Ward hit a solo home run off Suppan to lead off the sixth. It was Ward’s seventh home run in 19 games since he was recalled from Triple-A Nashville.
Pujols had five hits on May 23, 2003, at Pittsburgh. … Pirates catcher Jason Kendall extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a first-inning single. It’s the longest current streak in the majors and tied for the second-longest streak in the NL this season. Arizona’s Danny Bautista hit safely in 21 straight games. … Rolen scored the 700th run of his career. …Hector Luna made two errors after replacing Rolen.