The Cardinals Major League Notebook 06/22

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa reached the 2,500 milestone in career victories Sunday and it probably seems that Albert Pujols, his DH on Sunday, has been responsible for at least 500 of them.

Surely, he was El Hombre in Kauffman Stadium, one of his personal shooting galleries. Tying Stan Musial for the club record in grand slams at nine, Pujols enjoyed his 28th multi-homer game of his career and drove in six runs Sunday. In 27 interleague games at Kansas City, where he went to high school and junior college and where he still has many friends and family, Pujols has 12 homers and 36 runs batted in with a .400 batting average.

"He does it over and over," said La Russa. "It's impossible to describe."

Pujols, who also hits well in Pittsburgh, St. Louis and many other ball parks, said, merely, "I don't change my routine (to play in Kansas City). My preparation is the same. Whatever happens, happens. Get a good pitch to hit and put on a good swing."

With 2,500 wins, La Russa ranks first among living managers, although well behind Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763).

"I'm not lumped in with them," said La Russa. "I've had good fortune," he said, referring to three "good situations" in Chicago, Oakland and St. Louis.

"I refuse to take it personal."

Cardinals, 12, Kansas City 5: The Cardinals, who, to the surprise of many of even their own fans, sport the National League's second-best record at 38-31, moved their Central Division lead to 1-1/2 games by sweeping Kansas City. The Cardinals won the season series 5-1 over the Royals and have won seven of their last nine games in Kansas City over three years, outscoring the Royals, 57-28. DH Albert Pujols broke a 4-4 tie in the fourth inning with a full-count, grand slam off the Royals' new Hall of Fame club edifice behind the left-center-field wall.


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