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St. Louis at Cleveland

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St. Louis (34-29) «000101010391
Cleveland (28-36)000100000160

Pujols racks up 27th multihomer game in win over Indians

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Albert Pujols has made a habit of feasting on the American League.

Pujols, whose .355 career interleague average is the best in 13 years of play between baseball's two leagues, hit two home runs and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cleveland Indians 3-1 on Saturday.

"I just use same game plan as in the NL and if it doesn't work, then I try to figure it out," Pujols said.

After striking out in the first inning against Tomo Ohka, (0-1), Pujols adjusted quickly.

His 27th multihomer game and fourth this season helped Brad Thompson (1-2) get his first win since St. Louis' final game in 2008.

Pujols' first homer of the game was his 1,600th hit in 1,301 career games. The 396-foot line drive over the wall in left-center put St. Louis ahead 1-0 in the fourth inning.

"He's a special player," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "He's probably the best hitter in the game right now. That's not something you say very lightly."

The slugger then hit his 22nd homer in the sixth, a 435-foot shot deep into the seats in left-center for a 2-1 lead. Pujols is hitting .529 (9 for 17) with three homers and five RBI against Ohka. He had not faced him since 2006, when the right-hander was with Milwaukee.

"I don't go on video or what I did in the past," Pujols. "I work off my first at bat. I think about what I need to adjust."

Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa said Pujols' brain is as much a factor in his interleague success as his brawn.

"It's an example of how smart he is and how much he studies," LaRussa said of the 2005 and 2008 NL MVP. "He always has a plan when he goes up there."

The reigning NL MVP also homered Friday night and is 7 for 16 with six RBI in his last four games after breaking an 0-for-14 streak. Six of those hits have been home runs.

"I don't believe in luck, but I guess I'm getting some breaks," Pujols said. "Before that, I hit some balls hard and said, 'Wow, I can't catch a break."'

Ryan Franklin, the Cardinals' fifth pitcher, worked the ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances.

Thompson held the Indians hitless until Victor Martinez tied it at 1 with an RBI single in the fourth. Jamey Carroll reached on an error by shortstop Brendan Ryan and Mark DeRosa walked before Martinez grounded a single between first and second, scoring Carroll and sending DeRosa to third with none out.

Martinez was tagged out in a rundown after straying too far off first on a pitch in the dirt that was blocked by catcher Yadier Molina. Thompson then struck out Shin-Soo Choo and Jhonny Peralta.

"I didn't try to strike out those guys, but it happened," Thompson said. "I had a good sinker and went with it. I can throw it with confidence with Yadier back there. He's the best defensive catcher in the game."

Thompson didn't allow an earned run over six innings. He gave up three hits and two walks, striking out five.

"Brad was outstanding," LaRussa said. "He likes to compete and enjoys starting. He likes to take charge of a game from the beginning."After 10 relief outings to open the season, Thompson has started twice in place of Kyle Lohse, who went on the disabled list June 5 with a strained right forearm.

Ohka allowed two runs and seven hits over seven innings in his first start since June 6, 2007, for Toronto. The 33-year-old struck out two without a walk as he worked in the rotation spot vacated by Fausto Carmona, who was sent to the Arizona Rookie League after going 2-6 with a 7.42 ERA over 12 starts.

Notes

  • Pujols has 30 homers and 100 RBI in interleague play, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
  • Both teams wore uniforms from the 1980s as part of a retro weekend promotion by the Indians.
  • The 100 millionth fan to attend an interleague game entered the turnstiles at Progressive Field. The Indians presented Randy Loomis of Ashtabula, Ohio, with a prize packaged that included a trip to the 2009 All-Star game in St. Louis next month. Interleague play began in 1997.
 
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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Albert Pujols makes a meal out of Tomo Ohka with a homer in the fourth and sixth innings. (AP)
Albert Pujols makes a meal out of Tomo Ohka with a homer in the fourth and sixth innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 2
RBI 2
St. Louis

B. Thompson
IP 6.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 2
K 5
 
St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, 2B-LF4110002 .280
Rick Ankiel, LF-CF4000011 .254
Albert Pujols, 1B4232010 .329
Colby Rasmus, CF4000011 .267
    Tyler Greene, SS0000000 .274
Ryan Ludwick, RF3010100 .240
Chris Duncan, DH4010003 .249
Yadier Molina, C4020001 .263
Joe Thurston, 3B4000012 .238
Brendan Ryan, SS-2B4010010 .298
Totals3539215  
Batting
2B - Albert Pujols (14, R. Perez)
HR - Albert Pujols 2 (22, Ohka, Ohka)
RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (57)
SB - Yadier Molina (4, 2nd base off Ohka/Martinez)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Ryan-Schumaker-Pujols
E - Brendan Ryan (2, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
Brad Thompson (W,1-2) 6310250 3.60
Trever Miller (H,5) 0.1000000 3.00
Jason Motte (H,12) 1100110 4.68
Dennys Reyes (H,11) 0.2000010 5.19
Ryan Franklin (S,15) 1200010 1.09
HBP - Garko (by Brad Thompson)
Pitches-Strikes - Brad Thompson 87-54, Trever Miller 3-3, Jason Motte 24-15, Dennys Reyes 6-4, Ryan Franklin 18-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brad Thompson 9-3, Dennys Reyes 1-0
Batters Faced - Brad Thompson 23, Trever Miller 1, Jason Motte 5, Dennys Reyes 2, Ryan Franklin 4
Cleveland Indians
Jamey Carroll, 3B4100021 .310
Mark DeRosa, LF3010100 .277
Victor Martinez, C3011112 .339
Shin-Soo Choo, RF4000024 .291
Jhonny Peralta, SS3010011 .254
    Josh Barfield, PR-2B1010000 .462
Travis Hafner, DH4010001 .262
Ryan Garko, 1B3010012 .261
Luis Valbuena, 2B-SS4000004 .192
Trevor Crowe, CF2000111 .175
Totals3116138  
Batting
2B - Jhonny Peralta (11, Thompson)
RBI - Victor Martinez (45)
Team LOB - 7
Cleveland Indians
Tomo Ohka (L,0-1) 7722022 4.24
Rafael Perez 1211120 10.90
Matt Herges 1000010 0.96
IBB - Ludwick by Rafael Perez
WP - Rafael Perez (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Tomo Ohka 96-69, Rafael Perez 18-9, Matt Herges 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tomo Ohka 9-9, Rafael Perez 1-0, Matt Herges 2-0
Batters Faced - Tomo Ohka 27, Rafael Perez 6, Matt Herges 3
Game Information
Attendance - 31754
Game Time - 2:45
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Mark Wegner, First Base - Rob Drake, Second Base - Jeff Kellogg, Third Base - Tim Timmons