Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/06/11

Pujols styles on his game-winner Sunday

Albert Pujols repeated his Saturday extra-inning dramatics on Sunday as Chicago was swept out of town.

INSIDE PITCH

 

After Albert Pujols hit his second extra-inning, walk-off homer against the Cubs in two games, manager Tony La Russa had been given one more example of how his first baseman had earned his impressive reputation.

"Every year, he proves it more. And now you have the latest example of the greatness," La Russa said Sunday after the Cardinals' 3-2 win in 10 innings. "That's why he's gotten the label 'great player.' It's because he does great things."

Pujols' 426-foot homer Sunday leading off the 10th inning came on a 2-1 pitch. Saturday's homer to win the game in the 12th came on a 2-1 pitch. The pitchers were different but Sunday's victim, right-hander Rodrigo Lopez, had held Pujols hitless in 12 career at-bats.

"I'm 1-for-13," said Pujols, smiling. "I know that. You don't have to remind me."

Shortstop Ryan Theriot, who extended his career-high hitting streak to 19, had tied the game at 2-2 in the ninth with a dramatic, two-out double off of Cubs right-hander Carlos Marmol. But, like nearly everyone else, Theriot was talking about Pujols, who had four homers in the three-game series, drove in seven runs and even beat out an infield hit as he slid into first base.

"He's ridiculous," said Theriot, who marveled at many of the 40,701 fans in Busch Stadium standing when Pujols came to bat with nobody on in the 10th inning.

"It was almost like everybody knew it was going to happen," said Theriot. "They were right."

Related article: "Pujols consecutive walkoff homers in extras a rare feat" at The Cardinal Nation Blog.

NOTES AND QUOTES

RHP Chris Carpenter went nine innings for the first time this season but still didn't get a win. He has just one win in 13 starts although Carpenter has given up only nine earned runs in his last four starts. Carpenter was throwing in the low-to-mid-90s on Sunday in one of his best outings of the season. His only win came against the Cubs in Chicago on May 10.

The Cardinals are at a season-high 11 games over .500 and their 36 wins are the most in the majors.

SS Ryan Theriot, whose hitting streak is at 19 games, doubled in his final at-bat, marking the fourth time he had kept his streak alive with a hit in his final at-bat.

RF Lance Berkman, who hurt his right wrist diving for a ball nearly three weeks ago, sat out Sunday's game for two reasons. He had received a cortisone shot for his wrist Saturday night. And Carlos Zambrano, against whom Berkman is 11-for-71 (.155) was pitching for the Cubs. Berkman allowed that a sore wrist was "not good for a hitter. Or a seamstress." The Cardinals' next series will be in Houston beginning on Tuesday and former Astros star Berkman, who drove in seven runs and hit two homers in a three-game set there in April, doesn't want to miss it.

RHP Lance Lynn, who was good early and bad late in his first start, will get his second start Thursday in Houston. The next time through the rotation, when the team gets to Washington, injured RHP Kyle McClellan, recovering from a left hip flexor strain, is expected to be able to come off the disabled list.

OF Jon Jay hit fourth for the Cardinals on Sunday, marking the fifth different spot in which he has batted as a starter. He has missed Nos. 3, 5, 6 and 9.

BY THE NUMBERS: 13 - Extra-inning home runs by 1B Albert Pujols, best among active players, after his two straight walk-off homers to beat the Cubs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "By his standards, he's been struggling. But he's not. He's just not hitting .350 and having 100 homers by the All-Star break."

- RHP Chris Carpenter on 1B Albert Pujols, who has started to hit like the Pujols of old.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

RF Lance Berkman (sore right wrist), who injured himself diving for a ball early in May, sat out the June 5 game partially because he received a cortisone shot the previous night and partially for matchup reasons. Berkman said he wanted to play in the next series, against Houston, the team for which he played most of his career.

LF Matt Holliday (strained left quadriceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 1.

RHP Kyle McClellan (left hip flexor strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 31. He is expected to return and start by the June 14-16 series against Washington.

C Gerald Laird (broken right index finger) went on the 15-day disabled list May 23. He will be out until July.

INF Nick Punto (right forearm flexor strain) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18.

3B David Freese (broken left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2. He had surgery May 3, and he is expected to be out until mid- to late July.

RHP Bryan Augenstein (strained right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 16.

RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season.

NEXT GAME

 

Cardinals are off on Monday and start a nine-game road trip to Houston, Milwaukee and Washington on Tuesday night.

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