The Cardinals have a 53-26 record
for their 10 seasons at
Pujols, a lifetime .385 hitter in 299 at-bats at PNC, had three hits, including a three-run homer in the first inning off the first pitch he saw from Pirates reliever Sean Gallagher. Gallagher had been summoned to replace starter Ross Ohlendorf, who had to leave after eight pitches because of tightness behind his right shoulder.
The homer by Pujols was
No. 399 of his career and National League-leading 33rd of the season. He also
has 24 homers at
Outfielder Jon Jay, one of the two runners on base at the time of Pujols' 420-foot homer, said, "I was just in shock. First pitch and he hit it so hard. Hopefully I can say, 'I was here for No. 400.'"
With No. 399, Pujols tied Al Kaline and Andres Galarraga for 47th place on the all-time list. One shy of a magic number, Pujols said, "It's a great milestone. But I'm not thinking about it. I hope it will come with a great win for our ballclub."
What Pujols' homer did the most, though, was to take some pressure off Kyle Lohse, bothered by forearm problems that required surgery and cost him three months of the season. Lohse (2-5) worked five scoreless innings before surrendering a two-run homer to Garrett Jones in the sixth.
CARDINALS 10, PIRATES 2: The Cardinals, chasing both National League Central leader Cincinnati and wild-card leader Philadelphia, have eight more games scheduled with downtrodden Pittsburgh, which probably provides them their best chance to achieve one goal or the other.
NOTES AND QUOTES
The win Monday was Tony La Russa's 1,300th win as Cardinals manager in his 15 seasons with the club. "It's a real nice number," said La Russa. "It's called longevity. That's the reason for the number. Our fans are not happy with that number because we're not in first place."
RHP Jason Motte, on the
15-day disabled list with a sprained right shoulder, completed a second throwing
session off a bullpen mound Monday and will head out for Class AAA Memphis on a
rehabilitation option that should encompass appearances on Wednesday and Friday
before he could rejoin the club this weekend in
LHP Dennys Reyes, not on the disabled list but still suffering from a sore elbow, played long toss in the outfield but isn't ready to throw off the mound yet. Reyes hasn't pitched since Aug. 15 (once since Aug. 3). "It's getting better," said Reyes. "But it's going to take a little bit of time. You really want to go out there, especially at this time of the year and the (contending) position where we are. Unfortunately, I have to wait."
CF Colby Rasmus, bothered by a strained right calf, stepped up his workouts Monday but still is several days away from playing. "I didn't even run or anything," said Rasmus, who hasn't played in the field since Aug. 15. "It didn't feel that good, really, But we'll see. A couple of more days probably." Manager Tony La Russa seems patient enough with Rasmus' recovery. "We've had (Ryan) Ludwick and two or three other guys who had that cramping thing," said La Russa. "When guys run, it's hard to shake it unless it's just a true cramp. (Rasmus') legs are a big part of his game, so you can't mess around."
C Yadier Molina made his
25th consecutive start behind the plate on Monday and had three hits, raising
his average to .261, his highest since May 30. Manager Tony La Russa said he had
an off day in mind for Molina on this 10-game trip. That likely would occur this
RF Allen Craig, who knocked in three runs Sunday, earned another start Monday. Craig doubled and scored a run. Craig finished Monday's game hitting .197, but he said he paid little attention to that figure. "My goal is to help this team win," he said. "Batting average will take care of itself. I'm not worried about .200. That's not my goal. I don't breathe a sigh of relief when I get to .200, I can tell you that."
1B Albert Pujols hit the 399th homer of his career and his National League-leading 33rd of the season. With No. 399, Pujols tied Al Kaline and Andres Galarraga for 47th place on the all-time list. One shy of a magic number, Pujols said, "It's a great milestone. But I'm not thinking about it. I hope it will come with a great win for our ballclub."
By the Numbers:
47 - Innings the Cardinals went without having a lead before they finally grabbed the lead on Saturday night.
Quote to Note:
"I'm not a .220 hitter."
- New Cardinals 3B Pedro Feliz.
LHP Dennys Reyes (left elbow strain) didn't pitch Aug. 16-22. He played long toss Aug. 23.
CF Colby Rasmus (leg cramp) left the Aug. 15 game. He pinch-hit Aug. 17 and 18, but he didn't play Aug. 20-23.
C Jason LaRue (concussion) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 13. He was moved to the 60-day DL on Aug. 19, ending his season.
RHP Jeff Suppan (sore right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 1. He threw a three-inning simulated game Aug. 17 and said he felt no pain.
RHP Jason Motte (AC sprain in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 3. He had hoped to return as soon as he's eligible Aug. 18, but that didn't happen. He threw off the bullpen mound Aug. 17 and Aug. 21 and might go on a rehab assignment Aug. 25.
RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 17. He won't need surgery, but he is out for the season.
3B David Freese (right ankle surgery) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 15. He was originally out due to a bone bruise on his right ankle, and then he broke his left big toe in mid-July. He tore a right ankle tendon Aug. 2 in his first rehab game with Class AA Springfield, and he had season-ending surgery Aug. 6.
RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He threw bullpen sessions June 28 and July 1 but had to cut short a bullpen session July 6 because of tightness in his triceps area. He underwent an MRI on July 7, which found nothing that hadn't been diagnosed before. As of Aug. 5, he was playing catch but not throwing off a mound. Penny is out indefinitely.