Cardinals 8-6 over Astros in 10

First baseman Albert Pujols, the all-time leader in home runs by a visiting player at Minute Maid Park in Houston, should know by now that hitting the ball to center field there is a waste of time.

Pujols twice sent Houston center fielder Hunter Pence onto the hill more than 420 feet from the plate, and Pence made the catch both times. Later in the game, Pujols took some better angles.

He lined a homer to the opposite field, right, to give the Cardinals the lead in the eighth. Then, after the Astros tied the score, Pujols launched a long two-run homer to left in a three-run 10th.

"I knew I was going to have a good day," said Pujols, who drew his usual torrent of boos from the Houston crowd. "I love it when they boo me. They're doing it for a reason."

The homers were Nos. 18 and 19 for Pujols in the regular season at Minute Maid, not counting his legendary playoff homer there off right-hander Brad Lidge in 2005.

Pujols' second homer of the game came after a one-out homer in the 10th by left fielder So Taguchi, who had just one at-bat after coming into the game on a double switch.

CARDINALS 8, ASTROS 6 (10 innings): The Cardinals hit a season-high five homers, four of them solo shots, as they won a three-game series from the Astros for the third time this season. All the series have been 2-1 victories for the Cardinals. The Cardinals failed to draw a walk and left just two men on base.


--SS David Eckstein, popped in the left elbow by a pitch from RHP Roy Oswalt on Friday, returned after missing just one game and led off the game with a homer off RHP Jason Jennings.

--RF Juan Encarnacion homered for the second time in three games.

--RHP Kip Wells extended his National League lead in losses by dropping his 10th in 12 decisions Saturday.

Citing some Wells mistakes, manager Tony La Russa said, "This is the big leagues. If you're going to be good, you can't make those mistakes."

--LF Chris Duncan has been released from a St. Louis hospital after being treated for a staph infection. Though Duncan has not appeared in a game since May 27, he was not placed on the disabled list and might be available for the Cincinnati series which will begin on Tuesday.

--LHP Tyler Johnson appeared in his 30th game Saturday, putting him on pace for 90. That would break LHP Steve Kline's club record set in 2001 by one appearance.

--C Kelly Stinnett, a backup for the Dodgers' Class AAA team in Las Vegas, was purchased by the Cardinals to be the No. 2 catcher behind Gary Bennett, with regular C Yadier Molina out due to a fractured left wrist.

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