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St. Louis at Kansas City

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Pujols homers in third consecutive game as Cards finish sweep

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When Albert Pujols is at the plate, there is no such thing as wasting a pitch.

Kansas City right-hander Scott Elarton learned the hard way Sunday when his delivery to the extreme outer part of the plate was driven by Pujols to the opposite field and into the Royals' bullpen.

Pujols homered in his third consecutive game and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Kansas City 10-3 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep and send the Royals to their ninth loss in a row.

"He's an unbelievable hitter," Elarton said. "He's probably the best hitter in the game right now. I wanted to waste a pitch (with the count 1-2). I felt like I had a pitch to waste and he hit it out of the ball park."

Kansas City (10-31) has the worst record in baseball and has been swept nine times this season.

Pujols, who leads the majors with 22 home runs in St. Louis' 44 games, reached the homer mark in the second-fewest games in baseball history. Barry Bonds did it in 43 games in 2001.

"He's a once in a lifetime thing, not once in a lifetime, but he compares to anybody who has ever played the game is a better way to say it," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of his star first baseman.

Pujols, who went to Fort Osage High School and Maple Woods Junior College in Kansas City, also leads baseball with 54 RBI, 46 runs scored and 118 total bases. He already had a four-game homer streak this season between April 15-18.

"It's not about me," Pujols said. "It's about the team. We got three wins and that's what we want to do."

Next up for the Cardinals is a three-games series at San Francisco, where Bonds is tied with Babe Ruth for second place with 714 career home runs.

"He's put up some great numbers in his career," Pujols said. "He's the best player in baseball right now."

The Cardinals have won five in a row for the first time since July 10-18, 2005, and are a season-high 14 games over .500. They have dominated their cross-state rivals in interleague play, winning 10 of 11 from Kansas City.

Jeff Suppan, who pitched for Kansas City from 1998-2002, beat the Royals for the first time in five career outings. Suppan (5-3) yielded seven hits and two runs in six innings and improved to 3-1 in four May starts.

He also offered some advice on how to pitch to Pujols.

"Very carefully," Suppan said. "There are so many ways he can beat you. He's the one guy when he comes up in big situations it seems like he produces more times than not. He's continued to improve. It's fun to be on this side of the uniform with him."

Chris Duncan, recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Sunday, and Hector Luna homered in the fifth. Duncan hit a two-run shot to center, and Luna connected for a solo homer off Elarton (0-5).

Elarton, who is winless in 10 starts, gave up five runs on five hits, three of them home runs, in six innings. Elarton had retired 10 in a row before Pujols' home run.

"I can live with that," Elarton said. "The other two were bad pitches."

Elarton is finding it difficult to live with the losses.

"You get mad," he said. "We're just terrible. There are no two ways about it. We're pretty much bad in every facet of the game."

The Royals stranded 11 runners and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

"They had their chances," La Russa said. "We were all nervous in the dugout. We prevailed, but there were some nervous moments."

The Cardinals batted around in a five-run seventh, which was highlighted by Jim Edmonds' two-out, two-run single after Pujols was walked intentionally to load the bases. Scott Spiezio had a run-scoring single in the inning, and another scored on John Rodriguez's RBI grounder. Larry Bigbie came home on a throwing error by Royals reliever Andrew Sisco.

"Quite frankly, they've got a much better team than we have," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "You make a mistake like that (Sisco's error), we just can't cover it up."

Matt Stairs led off the Royals' fourth with a double and scored on Paul Bako's two-out single. Aaron Guiel homered in the sixth for the second Kansas City run. Angel Berroa's seventh-inning double scored Stairs with the final Royals' run.

Notes

  • The Royals' mark is the worst in franchise history after 41 games.
  • The Cardinals are 24-6 in their past 30 interleague games.
  • St. Louis OF So Taguchi snapped an 0-for-11 skid with an eighth-inning single.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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The third-base coach shows his love for Chris Duncan, who hits a two-run homer in the fifth inning.  (AP)
The third-base coach shows his love for Chris Duncan, who hits a two-run homer in the fifth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 3
R 3
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
St. Louis

H. Luna
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 
St. Louis Cardinals
Aaron Miles, 2B5120002 .304
John Rodriguez, RF4001111 .351
Albert Pujols, 1B3311200 .317
Jim Edmonds, CF4012001 .252
   a- Juan Encarnacion, PH1010000 .240
Scott Spiezio, 3B3111201 .301
Larry Bigbie, LF5110014 .231
Chris Duncan, DH2112000 .500
   b- So Taguchi, PH-DH-CF2021000 .253
Gary Bennett, C4110113 .222
Hector Luna, SS3211101 .338
Totals36101297313 
a-singled for Edmonds in the 9th
b-hit a sacrifice bunt for Duncan in the 7th
Batting
2B - Larry Bigbie (1, Elarton)
HR - Albert Pujols (22, Elarton), Chris Duncan (1, Elarton), Hector Luna (3, Elarton)
SH - So Taguchi (4)
RBI - John Rodriguez (7), Albert Pujols (54), Jim Edmonds 2 (29), Scott Spiezio (16), Chris Duncan 2 (2), So Taguchi (14), Hector Luna (10)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols (15), Jim Edmonds 2 (10), Scott Spiezio (13), So Taguchi (5), Hector Luna (4)
CS - So Taguchi (1, 3rd base by Sisco/Bako)
Team LOB - 7
St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Suppan (W,5-3) 6722231 4.50
Randy Flores 1211000 4.85
Brad Thompson 2100010 1.37
HBP - Costa (by Jeff Suppan), Costa (by Jeff Suppan)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Suppan 99-58, Randy Flores 21-13, Brad Thompson 25-19
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Suppan 9-6, Randy Flores 1-2, Brad Thompson 3-2
Batters Faced - Jeff Suppan 29, Randy Flores 5, Brad Thompson 7
Kansas City Royals
Shane Costa, CF3010000 .310
Esteban German, 3B4010103 .397
Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B4000102 .256
Emil Brown, LF5020004 .231
Matt Stairs, DH5220013 .225
Angel Berroa, SS4011001 .238
Aaron Guiel, RF4111012 .206
Paul Bako, C4011020 .200
Andres Blanco, 2B4010001 .286
Totals3731032416 
Batting
2B - Matt Stairs (5, Suppan), Angel Berroa (7, Flores), Andres Blanco (1, Suppan)
HR - Aaron Guiel (3, Suppan)
RBI - Angel Berroa (13), Aaron Guiel (6), Paul Bako (4)
2-OUT RBI - Angel Berroa (7), Paul Bako (4)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Aaron Guiel 1
DP - Blanco-Berroa-Mientkiewicz
E - Andrew Sisco (1, throwing error)
Kansas City Royals
Scott Elarton (L,0-5) 6555203 4.71
Andrew Sisco 0.1022200 7.71
Mike Wood 1.2522100 3.21
Jimmy Gobble 1211230 5.14
IBB - Pujols by Mike Wood
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Elarton 81-52, Andrew Sisco 13-5, Mike Wood 28-14, Jimmy Gobble 33-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Elarton 7-10, Andrew Sisco 1-0, Mike Wood 3-1
Batters Faced - Scott Elarton 24, Andrew Sisco 3, Mike Wood 10, Jimmy Gobble 7
Game Information
Attendance - 30266
Game Time - 2:54
Temperature - 79
Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Second Base - Sam Holbrook, Third Base - Randy Marsh