The Redbird Report 08/23

Superstar Alber Pujols hit a HR in his fifth straight game and his 30th round tripper on the season in Wednesday's 6-4 win over the Marlins.

Albert Pujols reached two milestones Wednesday night. When he drilled a two-run homer off Florida left-hander Scott Olsen, it marked the fifth consecutive game in which Pujols had homered. That is a personal best for Pujols.

More significantly, the homer was the 30th of the season for Pujols, giving him that many or more homers in each of his first seven seasons in the major leagues, extending a record he already held.

"Ever since his rookie year, he's had us scratching our heads in amazement," said manager Tony La Russa.

But most important for the Cardinals, after Ryan Franklin experienced a rare misstep in the seventh inning and blew a two-run lead, Jim Edmonds had a rare success against a left-handed pitcher. Having been double-switched into the game with Franklin in the top of the inning, Edmonds, batting .175 with one homer against left-handers, clouted a long, two-run drive off Olsen, whom he never had faced, to break a tie and send the Cardinals to victory.

The win was the Cardinals' third straight and 10th in their last 13 games. They moved to one game under .500 at 61-62, a "lofty" perch they hadn't achieved since they were 10-11 on April 26.

But will they have Pujols at anything close to full strength the rest of the way? Pujols admitted he hurt his upper right leg a couple of pitches before he hit his home run, and he said his leg briefly went numb.

"We're going to have to deal with it," Pujols said. "I want to keep playing, but I won't be sure how it is until I wake up. It's sore. That's all I can say."

CARDINALS 6, MARLINS 4: Right-hander Jason Isringhausen posted his third save in three days -- the first time he had pitched three days in a row all season -- and the Cardinals moved to one game under .500 at 61-62. The win, achieved on Jim Edmonds' seventh-inning, two-run homer, was the Cardinals' 10th in their last 13 games.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--RHP Braden Looper, who got a no-decision Wednesday, has given up just five earned runs over his last 18 innings in three starts.

--C Yadier Molina, who had homered in the fifth inning for the Cardinals' third run, then doubled in the seventh to score 3B Scott Rolen, who also had doubled, to tie the game at 4-4. Molina also had tied Tuesday's game with a late-inning hit, and the Cardinals had gone on to win.

--1B Albert Pujols, who has 280 homers now after reaching 30 in a season for the seventh consecutive time, said, "I give God all the credit. I give him credit that I can get everything out of my ability.

"I haven't felt great about my numbers. I know they could be better. But I'm happy to help my team. I feel like I'm getting some big hits to help us win games."

--Hot-hitting rookie INF Brendan Ryan made his fifth consecutive start Wednesday, and he has hit safely in all five games. Ryan was an insertion as a starter at second base Wednesday night as Aaron Miles, whom manager Tony La Russa said would have started, returned to his home in Antioch, Calif., in time for the birth of Jackson Tyler Miles, his second child.

--As expected, Sunday night's rainout of the Cardinals-Cubs game in Chicago will be made up on Monday, Sept. 10, at Wrigley Field. The Cardinals will be coming from Arizona on their way to Cincinnati, and the Cubs will go to Chicago from Pittsburgh on their way to Houston. The Cardinals will play 35 games in the last 34 days of the season.


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