Cards Avoid Series Sweep With Win on Sunday

The Cardinals seemingly had been over-reliant on the home run ball to score their runs lately but, when they hit three on Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels, the homers came with accessories.

First baseman Albert Pujols cracked two homers and third baseman Scott Spiezio one, all coming with men on base, good for eight runs. Pujols had a two-run homer and a three-run blast, and Spiezio had a game-clinching three-run homer in the seventh inning as the Cardinals won an interleague game for the first time out of six chances this season.

After Saturday's loss, manager Tony La Russa had lamented, "I'm sure (the Angels) don't think we're very good. They're not seeing all that much from us."

But, on Sunday, La Russa said, "We looked like a team that belonged on a major league baseball field."

Besides the home run sluggers, credit goes to the table-setters. Shortstop David Eckstein, raising his average to .301 with three hits, was on base ahead of two of the homers and left fielder So Taguchi, getting a rare start, was on base ahead of all three homers.

And say what you want about right-hander Todd Wellemeyer. The veteran, acquired on waivers last month and then summoned when from the bullpen when the rotation sprang a leak, worked 5 1/3 sturdy innings, including escaping a bases-loaded, one-out spot in the fourth. The Cardinals are 3-0 in his starts while they are a combined 2-20 in starts made by Kip Wells and Anthony Reyes.

CARDINALS 9, ANGELS 6: Albert Pujols cracked two homers, increasing his total on Sundays this season to eight. He also drove in five runs as the Cardinals wound up a home stand at 3-3. The win ensured that the Cardinals still have never been swept by an American League team in St. Louis during interleague play.

INSIDE EDGE: Until manager Tony La Russa is sure catcher Gary Bennett is up to regular duty after being hit in the back of the head by a pitch from Cincinnati's Aaron Harang, La Russa will alternate Bennett with Kelly Stinnett, whose contract was purchased some 10 days ago. But until regular C Yadier Molina gets back, though, opposing runners are likely to try to take some liberties with the Cardinals' backstops, neither of whom has the intimidating throwing arm of Molina. Chone Figgins of the Angels stole five bases in five tries against the Cardinals last weekend.


--The Cardinals have scored 16 runs for RHP Todd Wellemeyer in the 14 innings he has been in the game during his three starts.

--RHP Troy Percival signed a minor league contract with the Cardinals.

--3B Scott Spiezio's seventh-inning, three-run homer snapped a nothing-for-12 skid.

--LF Chris Duncan fanned as a pinch hitter in the eighth. He is 2 for his last 32 with 15 strikeouts.

--2B Aaron Miles singled home a run in the second. He is 11-for-26 (.423) with men in scoring position.

--The Cardinals had 11 homers during the just-completed six-game homestand. They hadn't had 11 in a home stand since they had 11 during a 10-game stretch in 2005.

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