|St. Louis «||2||0||0||3||0||0||1||1||0||7||10||0|
PHOENIX -- Albert Pujols doesn't talk about consistency. He exemplifies it.
The St. Louis first baseman drove in two runs with three hits -- including a double and his 22nd homer -- to extend his hitting streak to 17 games and lead the Cardinals to a 7-1 rout of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
Pujols, who had a 30-game hitting streak in 2003, also hit in 17 in a row as a rookie in 2001.
"I just try to do it on the road, I try to do it at home, but the idea is not taking things for granted," he said. "Just battle day in, day out, and give your best every at-bat."
So Taguchi had a solo homer and drove in two runs for the second straight game, and Reggie Sanders, back in the lineup after missing two games because of a strained right foot, drove in two runs for the Cardinals.
Jeff Suppan (8-7) went 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run and five hits to help the defending NL champions to their third straight win and fourth in five games.
Suppan left with a 5-1 lead, but with Troy Glaus and Shawn Green on first and third after a walk and single. Al Reyes got out of the jam when he got Royce Clayton, his only batter, to ground into a double play. Reyes and four more relievers combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
"With a lead like that, I was really just trying to stay focused," Suppan said. "Basically, tonight it was our offense and our bullpen."
Shawn Estes (6-7) worked 6 1/3 innings, dropping to 2-4 in nine starts since his only consecutive wins this season. Estes allowed six runs and six hits, including Taguchi's leadoff homer in the seventh.
Pujols made it 7-1 with his leadoff homer off Greg Aquino in the eighth. His 3-for-4 night raised his batting average five points to .346.
"He's a classic, high-average hitter," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "Every day, every at-bat. Relentless, talented."
Pujols made Estes pay for hitting Jim Edmonds with a pitch in the first inning, doubling into the right-field corner and taking third on the throw home. He scored on Sanders' grounder for a 2-0 lead.
"The two runs in the first, we got off to a little bit of a bad theme there, and (Estes) struggled a little bit," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "He probably thought he had a few strikes (miscalled). He was just a little frustrated out there, and we've got to get him through that, because he's big for us."
Estes gave himself some support when he broke an 0-for-23 stretch at the plate by tripling in the third. He scored on Craig Counsell's sacrifice fly.
Pujols led off the fourth with a single and scored on Sanders' double that hit the center field wall on the fly.
"The good news is that we definitely don't rely on one person every night," Sanders said. "Al is going to do his thing, and the one night he doesn't do his thing, we have guys that can step up and help out."
Scott Rolen hit an RBI double into the gap, making it 4-1 before Estes got anyone out, and Taguchi made it a three-run inning with a bloop single.
"They're a good team, and they don't miss many pitches," Estes said.
|Players of the Game|
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|St. Louis Cardinals|
|David Eckstein, SS||4||0||1||0||1||0||1||.289|
|Jim Edmonds, CF||3||1||0||0||0||2||2||.270|
|a- Einar Diaz, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.222|
|Jason Isringhausen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||4||3||3||2||0||0||1||.346|
|Reggie Sanders, LF||4||1||1||2||0||1||0||.283|
|Scott Rolen, 3B||4||1||2||1||0||0||0||.272|
|Mark Grudzielanek, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.281|
|So Taguchi, RF-CF||4||1||2||2||0||1||1||.287|
|Yadier Molina, C||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.256|
|Jeff Suppan, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.185|
|Al Reyes, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Hector Luna, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.211|
|Cal Eldred, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ray King, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Julian Tavarez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Abraham Nunez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.304|
|John Mabry, RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.268|
|a-flied out for Edmonds in the 9th|
|b-tripled for Reyes in the 7th|
|c-struck out for Tavarez in the 9th|
|2B - David Eckstein (10, Gosling), Albert Pujols (20, Estes), Reggie Sanders (11, Estes), Scott Rolen (11, Estes)|
|3B - Hector Luna (1, Cormier)|
|HR - Albert Pujols (22, Aquino), So Taguchi (5, Estes)|
|RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (69), Reggie Sanders 2 (42), Scott Rolen (25), So Taguchi 2 (24)|
|SB - So Taguchi (5, 2nd base off Estes/Snyder)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Eckstein-Grudzielanek-Pujols|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Jeff Suppan (W,8-7)||5.1||5||1||1||3||4||0||4.20|
|Al Reyes (H,9)||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.85|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Suppan 93-54, Al Reyes 5-3, Cal Eldred 13-7, Ray King 9-6, Julian Tavarez 8-6, Jason Isringhausen 16-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Suppan 4-8, Al Reyes 1-0, Cal Eldred 1-1, Julian Tavarez 1-2, Jason Isringhausen 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Jeff Suppan 24, Al Reyes 1, Cal Eldred 3, Ray King 2, Julian Tavarez 4, Jason Isringhausen 3|
|Craig Counsell, 2B||3||0||1||1||1||0||0||.281|
|Chad Tracy, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.310|
|Luis Gonzalez, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.290|
|Troy Glaus, 3B||3||0||2||0||1||0||0||.260|
|Shawn Green, RF||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.286|
|Jose Cruz Jr., CF||3||0||1||0||1||1||2||.225|
|Royce Clayton, SS||3||0||1||0||0||0||3||.245|
|Lance Cormier, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Greg Aquino, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Tony Clark, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.323|
|Mike Gosling, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Chris Snyder, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||4||.223|
|b- Quinton McCracken, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.215|
|Shawn Estes, P||2||1||1||0||0||1||0||.043|
|Alex Cintron, SS||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.297|
|a-flied out for Aquino in the 8th|
|b-grounded out for Snyder in the 9th|
|2B - Jose Cruz Jr. (7, Tavarez)|
|3B - Shawn Estes (1, Suppan)|
|SF - Craig Counsell (4)|
|RBI - Craig Counsell (29)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Clayton-Counsell-Tracy|
|Shawn Estes (L,6-7)||6.1||6||6||6||1||1||1||4.56|
|HBP - Edmonds (by Shawn Estes)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Shawn Estes 81-49, Lance Cormier 14-8, Greg Aquino 20-15, Mike Gosling 13-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shawn Estes 9-8, Lance Cormier 1-0, Mike Gosling 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Shawn Estes 26, Lance Cormier 3, Greg Aquino 5, Mike Gosling 4|
|Attendance - 23590|
|Game Time - 2:45|
|Temperature - 80|
|Umpires - Home - Bill Miller, First Base - Joe Brinkman, Second Base - Derryl Cousins, Third Base - Jeff Nelson|