First baseman Albert Pujols, after a slow start, has hit nine homers -- including two on Sunday -- driven in 21 runs and averaged .402 since May 15.
Manager Tony La Russa said, "I think early in the season, he didn't have anything falling."
Addressing the suggestion that Pujols had expanded his hitting zone because others behind him were struggling, La Russa disagreed.
"I think he hit the ball hard enough to get a much better average," said La Russa. "I also think when your offense is struggling, people are going to want to take the bat out of his hands. Sometimes, he enlarged his strike zone on purpose."
NOTES AND QUOTES
--LF Chris Duncan likely will be back in the lineup when the Cardinals start a series in Kansas City after the slumping outfielder was given most of a day off on Sunday. Duncan has fanned 13 times in his last 22 at-bats and had only two hits in his last 31 at-bats, most of them coming after he missed a week with a staph infection in his left leg. "He's a little funky right now," said manager Tony La Russa.
--OF Preston Wilson is likely to have surgery on his right knee and could be out for the season. Wilson hasn't appeared in a game since May 5.
--SS David Eckstein's on-base percentage in June is .438 and he has five multi-hit games in eight starts. Dropped to eighth place earlier in the season, Eckstein, restored to the leadoff spot, has hit .440 in June.
--The Cardinals have scored 16 runs for RHP Todd Wellemeyer while he has logged 14 innings in three starts. The club has won all three and Wellemeyer has won two.
--After losing 10 of 15 interleague games last season, the Cardinals have started out even worse this season, dropping five of six. They have six remaining with Kansas City and three with Oakland.
OF Preston Wilson (sore right knee) has not played since May 5 and may need surgery that would end his season.
C Yadier Molina (fractured left wrist) went on the disabled list on May 30. He will miss four to six weeks.
RHP Chris Carpenter (right elbow inflammation) went on the disabled list retroactive to April 2. He had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs on May 8, a procedure that will keep him out until August. He played catch for the first time on June 6.
LHP Mark Mulder (rotator cuff surgery in September 2006) is on the 15-day disabled list. He was throwing off a mound in early June, but he is not expected to be able to pitch in the majors before late July.
RHP Josh Kinney (Tommy John elbow surgery in March 2007) opened the season on the 15-day disabled list, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 5. He is out for the season.