MLB Insiders - The St. Louis Cardinals

Albert Pujols has a game-winning RBI in five of the Cardinals last eight games and has a MLB-high seven GWRBI on the season.


The Nationals walked Albert Pujols the last four times he came to the plate Sunday. That gave Pujols 28 walks in 25 games, but on two of those occasions Sunday, Jim Edmonds, the next hitter, delivered singles, driving in three runs in a 9-2 win.

Edmonds has 19 RBIs, a high total considering he has just 16 hits and a .213 average. "I hope they walk (Pujols) 150 times," Edmonds said. "I get a chance to drive in some runs and show some people I can still play."

The Cardinals' third win in the four-game series gave them their seventh series triumph out of eight played, with the only misstep a three-game sweep by the Cubs in Chicago.

They finished their 10-game homestand with an 8-2 mark, their best for a homestand of that length since the season-closing 8-2 stand in 2002.

Sunday's victory was the Cardinals' 17th in April, which matched their most wins for the month (2000), rather than being the best record, as had been announced the previous day. And the Cardinals left for a two-game series in Cincinnati, beginning Monday, tied with the Reds for first place in the National League Central Division.

"Not without a couple or three hiccups, but we've really played good baseball," manager Tony La Russa said. "I never got the feeling that we're a red-hot club and everything was going our way. We're playing pretty well and we're playing as hard as hell every day."

REPLAY: Jim Edmonds and pinch hitter So Taguchi both stroked two-out, two-run, bases-loaded singles Sunday, leading the Cardinals to a 9-2 win over the Nationals. Jeff Suppan, after an uneven start, worked six solid innings, raising his record to 2-2 for the season and 96-96 for his career.


--RF Juan Encarnacion had a strong defensive game Sunday and hit his second homer of the season.

--The Cardinals scored eight of their nine runs with two outs Sunday, and the other run scored on what became the second out of an inning, on LF So Taguchi's sacrifice fly in the eighth.

 --When they won the Central Division with an even 100 wins last year, the Cardinals were 15-7 in April, although they had a 3 1/2 lead against a Central Division that is even stronger this year. With their win Sunday, they are 17-8 and moved into a tie for first for just the third time this month and the first since April 6.

--RHP Adam Wainwright, who had a two-inning, hitless stint Sunday, has retired the leadoff man in 11 of the 12 innings he has pitched this season.

--C Yadier Molina got a rest, finishing the month with an 0-for-12 skid and a .152 average. He hit only .162 last April before winding up at .252.

--3B Scott Rolen, who has missed the last six games with a bronchitis-type ailment, did not travel to Cincinnati but may join the team in Houston on Wednesday.

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