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Cincinnati at St. Louis

St. Louis
W: R. Franklin (6-6) L: B. Bray (2-2)
HR: CIN - J. Votto (23), J. Valentin (4)   STL - A. Pujols (36)

Cardinals 7, Reds 6

CBSSports.com wire reports

ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols is making a late, long shot run at his second batting title. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa believes he's already done enough to earn a second MVP award.

Pujols homered and had three hits to run his streak to seven straight over three games in St. Louis' 7-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night. He raised his average four points to .357, eight behind the Braves' Chipper Jones with two games to go.

"Albert is a great player, as great as anybody playing today, and he shows it to you all the time," La Russa said. "Just watch."

Pujols has reached base nine of his last 10 plate appearances, the lone exception a sacrifice fly on Thursday. He's batting .403 in his last 35 games with an at-bat, and leads the majors in slugging percentage, on-base percentage and road batting average while totaling 36 homers and 114 RBI.

Pujols was MVP in 2005 and won the batting title with a .359 average in 2003.

"The reality is if he doesn't win it's because you guys didn't do your job," La Russa told reporters before the game. "There's some good candidates, but he's a great candidate and he should win."

Troy Glaus drove in the winning run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the ninth inning. Javier Valentin's sixth career pinch-homer, a two-run shot off Ryan Franklin (6-6), had tied it at 6 with two outs in the top half.

Reds pinch-hitters were 3-for-3 in the ninth while handing the Cardinals their 31st blown save, tied with Seattle for the most in the majors.

Felipe Lopez singled off Bill Bray (2-2) for his third hit with one out in the 10th, Pujols walked and Mike Lincoln hit Ryan Ludwick with a 1-2 pitch before Glaus hit a towering drive to medium center, scoring Lopez easily.

Reds starter Bronson Arroyo reached 200 innings for the fourth straight season, ending at exactly that many after allowing five runs on a career-high 13 hits in seven-plus innings. Joey Votto hit his 23rd homer, a two-run shot in the fourth.

Manager Dusty Baker normally would have pinch-hit for Arroyo in the top of the seventh, but let him bat in pursuit of an individual achievement.

"It's kind of a goal, especially doing it the hard way this year," Arroyo said. "But I would have taken 199 with a win."

The Reds' ninth-inning rally deprived Braden Looper of a 13th victory on his sixth attempt, which would have set a career best. Looper allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings and finished at 199 innings.

Pujols' homer in the fifth was a massive drive well beyond the visitor's bullpen in left, a two-run shot estimated at 433 feet. He singled twice and walked twice while Jones, 2-for-2 as a pinch-hitter the last week due to right shoulder inflammation, did not play Friday and remained at .365.

Reds left fielder Jerry Hairston struggled to make the play on all three of the Cardinals' triples, two by Adam Kennedy.

"Certainly wasn't my finest hour, or should I say my finest day," Hairston said. "It's just one of those days where I really couldn't do anything right."

Kennedy tripled to start the sixth on a drive that sliced just out of Hairston's reach. He and scored on Looper's triple for a 5-4 lead when Hairston anticipated the ball deflecting where the stands jut out near the field and ended up chasing a ball that just missed the barrier.

Hairston just missed flagging down another opposite-field drive by Kennedy to start the eighth for the third triple, and Cesar Izturis' sacrifice fly made it 6-4.


Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst, a player, manager and coach with the Cardinals since 1945, was honored with a bobblehead night that drew a sellout crowd of 44,709. His low-key impression of his statuette, a young Schoendienst kneeling with a bat: "It's all right." La Russa said Schoendienst told him it was "cute." ... The Reds are 3-10 at Busch Stadium the last two years. ... Kennedy has three triples the last two games, four overall. ... The Reds will start their only left-hander of the season in Sunday's finale, going with Adam Pettyjohn, to snap an 180-game streak by right-handers. The Cardinals will end the year with only two starts by lefties, one each by Mark Mulder and Jaime Garcia. ... Arroyo's previous high for hits allowed was 11 on June 24 at Toronto.
Copyright 2017 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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Players of the Game

J. Votto
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 3
R 2
H 3
HR 1

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Cincinnati Reds
Jerry Hairston Jr., LF5000023 .320
Jeff Keppinger, SS4221000 .266
Joey Votto, 1B3122110 .295
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4011001 .251
Jay Bruce, RF4000020 .259
Adam Rosales, 2B3010000 .214
   a- Danny Richar, PH-2B1110000 .250
Corey Patterson, CF4000002 .204
Ryan Hanigan, C3120000 .280
   b- Javier Valentin, PH1112000 .258
    Paul Bako, C0000000 .213
Bronson Arroyo, P1000010 .197
    Jared Burton, P0000000 .000
   c- Jolbert Cabrera, PH1010000 .252
    Bill Bray, P0000000 .000
    Mike Lincoln, P0000000 .000
a-singled for Rosales in the 9th
b-homered for Hanigan in the 9th
c-singled for Burton in the 9th
HR - Joey Votto (23, Looper), Javier Valentin (4, Franklin)
SH - Bronson Arroyo 2 (9)
RBI - Jeff Keppinger (42), Joey Votto 2 (82), Edwin Encarnacion (66), Javier Valentin 2 (18)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Keppinger (17), Edwin Encarnacion (24), Javier Valentin 2 (5)
SB - Danny Richar (1, 2nd base off Franklin/LaRue)
Team LOB - 4
DP - Keppinger-Rosales-Votto, Encarnacion-Rosales-Votto, Rosales-Votto, Hanigan-Rosales
Cincinnati Reds
Bronson Arroyo 71366251 4.77
Jared Burton 1100010 3.28
Bill Bray (L,2-2) 0.1111010 2.93
Mike Lincoln 0.1000100 4.50
HBP - Ludwick (by Mike Lincoln)
Pitches-Strikes - Bronson Arroyo 102-65, Jared Burton 9-5, Bill Bray 6-5, Mike Lincoln 13-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bronson Arroyo 10-3
Batters Faced - Bronson Arroyo 33, Jared Burton 3, Bill Bray 2, Mike Lincoln 3
St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, CF4000011 .304
   a- Brian Barton, PH1000010 .272
Felipe Lopez, 2B4330100 .277
Albert Pujols, 1B3232200 .357
Ryan Ludwick, LF4011023 .295
Troy Glaus, 3B4022011 .269
Adam Kennedy, RF4230001 .281
Cesar Izturis, SS3001003 .262
Braden Looper, P3021012 .254
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
   b- Aaron Miles, PH1010000 .315
    Ron Villone, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
Jason LaRue, C4000015 .219
a-struck out for Schumaker in the 9th
b-singled for Motte in the 8th
3B - Adam Kennedy 2 (4, Arroyo, Arroyo), Braden Looper (1, Arroyo)
HR - Albert Pujols (36, Arroyo)
SF - Troy Glaus (3), Cesar Izturis (2)
RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (114), Ryan Ludwick (109), Troy Glaus 2 (96), Cesar Izturis (22), Braden Looper (4)
CS - Aaron Miles (3, 2nd base by Burton/Hanigan)
Team LOB - 8
Outfield Assists - Ryan Ludwick 1
DP - Izturis-F. Lopez-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Braden Looper 7744161 4.16
Jason Motte (H,4) 1100000 0.90
Ron Villone (H,16) 0.1000000 4.74
Ryan Franklin (BS,8; W,6-6) 0.2322001 3.59
Pitches-Strikes - Braden Looper 102-70, Jason Motte 10-5, Ron Villone 3-2, Ryan Franklin 19-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Braden Looper 9-5, Jason Motte 2-0, Ron Villone 1-0, Ryan Franklin 1-1
Batters Faced - Braden Looper 28, Jason Motte 3, Ron Villone 1, Ryan Franklin 5
Game Information
Attendance - 44709
Game Time - 2:44
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Tim Timmons