The Redbird Report: 05/06

St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols slides into home to score the winning run against the Colorado Rockies in the ninth inning of the Cardinals' 6-5 victory Monday.

Pujols hesitated only slightly rounding third, and before third-base coach Jose Oquendo could stop him, Pujols was in full flight home and was ruled by umpire Bob Davidson to have slid home safely with the tie-breaking run.

"Kind of an odd way to get an RBI," said Ankiel. "But Albert shows what a great player he is. Without him, we don't win." First baseman Albert Pujols wins games in many ways, though rarely with his legs. But after he doubled off Colorado lefty Brian Fuentes with one out in the ninth inning of a tie game, he tried to steal third one pitch after having to dive back into second base on a pickoff attempt. Center fielder Rick Ankiel then grounded slowly to rookie second baseman Jonathan Herrera, who was out at first.

Manager Tony La Russa said, "What it does prove is that (Pujols) plays the whole game."

Explaining his dash, Pujols said, "I heard the sound of the bat and I was already at third base. Cheo (Oquendo) was stopping me. But I saw (Herrera) didn't even look at me. I just took off."

The Cardinals got an erratic start from righty Joel Pineiro, who had back spasms a few days ago and then was hit on the right forearm by a pitch in the fourth inning as he missed a swing. In that same at-bat, Pineiro, who had fanned nine times in 10 hitless at-bats this season, fouled off several pitches before he doubled home two runs to give the Cardinals the lead.

"Somebody said that was the best at-bat of the season, especially after getting drilled," La Russa said.

But Pineiro wouldn't retire another hitter as the Rockies tied the game in the fourth, with the help of a trio of misplays by left fielder Chris Duncan, who was charged with two errors and failed to track down another ball.

Four Cardinals relievers appeared, with righty Mike Parisi working two scoreless innings in his major-league debut and lefty Randy Flores giving up his first earned run in 12 appearances.

Jason Isringhausen earned his second save in two nights, with third baseman Brendan Ryan starting a game-ending double play and Pujols making the one-hop pick to complete it. Earlier in the inning, shortstop Cesar Izturis made a great play on a smash by left fielder Matt Holliday.

CARDINALS 6, ROCKIES 5: The Cardinals' bullpen, called on for four innings Sunday, had to work five more innings Monday, but the team won both games.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--LHP Mark Mulder gave up nine hits and seven runs in six innings in a Class AAA rehabilitation start at Memphis. He threw 61 strikes out of 90 pitches, which represented a slight improvement from his previous outing. Mulder, recovering from shoulder surgery last season, probably will get one more start before the Cardinals will have to consider activating him.

--RHP Joel Pineiro had only one RBI before his two-run double in the fourth. Pineiro, who had fanned nine times in 10 hitless at-bats, said, "I'm just glad I got the ball in fair territory. Even though my pitching wasn't so good today, the hitting was there."

--1B Albert Pujols doubled in the ninth inning, before which he had been walked intentionally in the seventh, extending his streak of reaching base to 33 games.

--3B Troy Glaus continues to struggle. He walked twice but was hitless in two at-bats and now is 0-for-20.

--LHP Ron Villone worked two more scoreless innings, running his streak to 11 2/3 innings over seven games in which he hasn't given up a run. He has allowed only three hits in that span.

BY THE NUMBERS: 18 -- Record-setting number of wins by the Cardinals in month of April.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "If I had this outing in the middle of the spring, I wouldn't be freaking out about it. So I'm not." -- LHP Mark Mulder, after a rough rehabilitation outing for Class AAA Memphis.


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