Pujols’ 17th HR powers Cardinals past Rockies, 4-2
ST. LOUIS ” Albert Pujols’ major league-leading 17th home run, a three-run shot off Jose Mesa in the eighth inning, gave the St. Louis Cardinals a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.
Pujols’ blast came one inning after Colorado’s Matt Holliday hit his third homer in two games to snap a 1-all tie. Holliday also singled in the fifth and is 14-for-30 with six homers in his last eight games. He is 16-for-32 against the Cardinals for his career.
The Cardinals were stymied for seven innings by Josh Fogg, who entered with a 1-8 record and 8.47 ERA against them. Once Mesa entered in the eighth, it didn’t take them long to seize control and end the Rockies’ four-game winning streak.
David Eckstein led off with a single and pinch-hitter Juan Encarnacion singled on a drive up the middle that appeared to deflect high into the air off the pitching rubber.
Pujols nearly fanned on a 1-2 pitch, stepping out of the box to collect himself before hammering a 3-2 delivery from Mesa (0-1) over the left-field wall.
Adam Wainwright (1-0) worked a perfect eighth and Jason Isringhausen struck out the side in the ninth for his ninth save in 11 chances.
The Cardinals overcame three errors and a wild outing from Chris Carpenter to win for the fourth time in five games. Carpenter walked six, the most in his 69 starts with St. Louis. In seven innings he allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits.
Carpenter had been masterful at wriggling off the hook by stranding 10 runners and holding the Rockies to 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position before Holliday’s 10th homer with two outs in the seventh put Colorado ahead 2-1.
In the bottom half of the seventh, Holliday made a catch at the wall in left to rob Yadier Molina of extra bases.
Fogg allowed one run and six hits in seven innings, but he is 0-7 in nine starts against the Cardinals since his lone win on May 31, 2002.
Pujols doubled with two outs in the first and scored on Jim Edmonds’ single to put the Cardinals ahead.
Two errors in the third helped the Rockies tie it. Second baseman Aaron Miles was called for straddling the bag after taking a throw from third baseman Scott Rolen on Garrett Atkins’ grounder, and Eckstein mishandled Clint Barmes’ two-out grounder to short with the bases loaded.
Notes: Pujols’ 33 runs leads the NL. He led the majors in that category the last three years. … Edmonds is 8-for-20 with two homers and six RBIs against Fogg. … The Rockies have not committed an error in nine straight games.
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