"Pujols can do it. Absolutely," said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox of Triple Crown possibilities. The last National Leaguer to win the Triple Crown was the Cardinals' Joe Medwick in 1937. Pujols seems in high gear again, hitting .406 in his first 15 games in July, after missing much of June with a strained oblique muscle in his right side.
--General manager Walt Jocketty is hoping to augment either his pitching staff or the corner outfield positions, but he says he will not negotiate during the season with his potential free agent starters, Mark Mulder, Jason Marquis, Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver.
"I think it would be a distraction at this point," Jocketty said. "We just feel at this point we would rather wait."
NOTES --RHPs Jeff Suppan, Anthony Reyes and Jeff Weaver, who will pitch this weekend in Los Angeles, all live in Southern California in the offseason.
--SS David Eckstein had struck out only 30 times before fanning three times Wednesday.
--OF John Gall, a perennial prospect but who hadn't been able to stay in the big leagues, was released by the Cardinals so he could sign in Korea. Gall was hitting .287 at Triple-A Memphis.
--RHP Jason Marquis didn't mind publicly, at least, being left on the mound to allow 12 runs in five innings against Atlanta on Tuesday. He had given up 13 runs in five innings against the White Sox a month ago.
"I just go out there until they tell me you're not going out there anymore," Marquis said.
--The last pitcher before Marquis to allow at least 12 runs in two games in the same season was Chubby Dean of the Philadelphia Athletics in 1940.