Cardinals will try to sweep Pujols, Angels out of town

Field Level Media

The standing ovations are likely to continue another day for Albert Pujols.

He has received one every time he's come to the plate for the Los Angeles Angels in the first two games of the three-game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals. He also got one when he was removed for a pinch runner on Friday night, and another when he rounded the bases following his home run on Saturday.

After he got to the dugout after touching home, he got a curtain call. As a member of the visiting team.

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And now, the Sunday evening finally will be on national TV.

Pujols played 11 seasons in St. Louis, won two World Series titles and earned three National League Most Valuable Player awards before signing with the Angels following the 2011 season.

The warm reception has gone beyond the expectations of the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer.

"It's just really special," Pujols told reporters following the Angels' 4-2 loss on Saturday afternoon. "(Sunday), I'm pretty sure it's going to be overwhelming with everything. I'm really looking forward to it."

About the only thing that could be better for Pujols is to leave St. Louis with a win.

The Angels were shut down by Michael Wacha and three relievers in a 5-1 loss on Friday, and Dakota Hudson and the bullpen did the same on Saturday.

Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks left with two outs in the ninth on Saturday after feeling discomfort in his throwing arm, but St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said it did not appear serious.

"He just felt a little fatigue in his triceps area," Shildt said. "Nothing too crazy. More of a cramp. ... Doctors feel optimistic, he feels good."

Los Angeles will look to left-hander Tyler Skaggs to end its three-game losing streak.

Skaggs (6-6, 4.61 ERA) will be aiming to win three straight starts for the first time since June 2018.

He's coming off what manager Brad Ausmus considered his best performance of the season, and possibly the best outing by a Los Angeles starter.

Skaggs limited the Toronto Blue Jays to one run and three hits in 7 1/3 innings of a 3-1 win on Tuesday, his longest outing since July 2, 2014.

"Usually, this time of year, everyone is starting to feel like they have mid-season form, so I'm feeling pretty good," Skaggs told reporters afterward.

St. Louis starter Miles Mikolas will try to build off his last start as well.

Mikolas (5-7, 4.48) ended a personal five-game losing streak by throwing six shutout innings in a 5-0 win against the visiting Miami Marlins on Monday. He allowed six hits, struck out four and didn't walk a batter.

Mikolas had been hurt by a lack of run support during his losing streak, as the Cardinals didn't score more than three runs in any of his previous six starts before Monday's win.

Mikolas also hurt his chances in several games by giving up the long ball. He has allowed 14 home runs this season after giving up 16 all of last season.

"I gave up some homers early (last season), and the rest of the season I did a really good job with guys on base, making sure I made those pitches," Mikolas said. "Maybe I got away from that, maybe overconfident at the beginning of this year, thinking that I could just let my stuff work, and not bearing down with guys on base as much as I need to."

--Field Level Media

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