Albert Pujols aside, it was far from a perfect season opener Monday for the Cardinals, even though they opened with a win.
The Cardinals committed two errors in the infield and starter Chris Carpenter, who allowed just seven home runs all last season, served up two in the same inning as he battled his control in the strike zone in that inning.
But baseball's best player had a huge day. Pujols, who hadn't hit a home run in 89 at-bats -- since he clouted two last Sept. 9 in Milwaukee -- smacked two homers among the four hits he had.
Pujols, who also had two singles, drove in three runs and scored four and showed he is over the lower-back issues he had in spring training.
"I don't know if you'll ever see anyone as good as him," said Carpenter, who turned in a sturdy six-inning performance.
After his 4-for-5 day, Pujols is 17-for-36 with four homers and 13 runs batted in on Opening Day.
"He's amazing," said manager Tony La Russa. "He got pitches to hit. Sometimes he hits pitches he shouldn't hit."
CARDINALS 11, REDS 6: The Cardinals won on Opening Day for the first time since 2006, the last time they won the World Series, by hitting four home runs.
1B Albert Pujols had two homers, CF Colby Rasmus had one and C Yadier Molina his first career grand slam in his first appearance since March 24 as the Cardinals set a franchise mark with four homers on Opening Day.
--C Yadier Molina, who hadn't
played since March 24 because of a strained right oblique, said he was just
trying to hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning when he hit the first grand
slam of his career, a drive to right field. Molina said he felt 100 percent
Monday but said he would be anxious to see how he felt the next day. His grand
slam was the third by a Cardinals player on Opening Day. The other two were by
Mark McGwire, the Cardinals' hitting coach, and Scott Rolen, the
--CF Colby Rasmus, who hit a homer and drove in two runs, also saved one with a spectacular leaping catch on 3B Scott Rolen's drive ticketed for a home run in the sixth inning. "A phenomenal play," said RHP Chris Carpenter. "He's going to be fun to watch for a long time."
--1B Albert Pujols hit two homers,
giving him 42 in 142 career games against
--RHP Ryan Franklin, who had a
rough spring training, gave up two ninth-inning runs after entering with a
seven-run lead before getting 3B Scott Rolen on a tapper to the mound.
--3B David Freese knocked in a run with a fourth-inning single but also booted a double-play ball. The rookie will bat eighth in the lineup for the foreseeable future.
--RHP Chris Carpenter made his fourth Opening Day start for the Cardinals but first since 2007. Carpenter didn't walk anybody in six innings as he beat the Reds for the sixth straight time.
BY THE NUMBERS: 30 -- RHP Jason Motte's new number after he had worn No. 60 in his first two seasons.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I hope my hitters
didn't watch that exhibition." -- Hitting coach Mark McGwire after he had taken
batting practice, a poor one, he thought, on the final day of spring training in
--RHP Blake Hawksworth (sore groin) pitched one inning in the Cardinals' final exhibition game after missing a week.
--C Yadier Molina (strained right oblique) was injured with 10 days left in spring training, but he started on opening day.
RHP Chris Carpenter
RHP Adam Wainwright
RHP Brad Penny
RHP Kyle Lohse
LHP Jaime Garcia
RHP Ryan Franklin (closer)
RHP Jason Motte
RHP Kyle McClellan
RHP Blake Hawksworth
RHP Mitchell Boggs
LHP Trever Miller
LHP Dennys Reyes
1B Albert Pujols
SS Brendan Ryan
3B David Freese
INF Felipe Lopez
INF/OF Joe Mather
CF Colby Rasmus
RF Ryan Ludwick
OF Allen Craig