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St. Louis (29-22) «1000302039140
Chi. Cubs (24-27)000000100171

Cardinals clobber Cubs behind Pujols' three home runs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Albert Pujols didn't see anything different in his three-homer performance Sunday in comparison to the period in which he connected once in 28 games.

Pujols hit three long balls and Adam Wainwright pitched seven impressive innings, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 9-1 victory against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.

Pujols homered in the first, fifth and ninth innings for his fourth career three-homer game, and first since Sept. 3, 2006, against the Pirates. He has hit four home runs in four games after the drought.

"This game is hard. This game is not easy. ... I think sometimes people take that for granted," Pujols said. "This is just another day. Tomorrow I want to contribute for my ballclub."

Pujols dismissed the idea that his recent struggles were related to injuries.

"I'm still in the lineup and playing every day. I told you guys in spring training and early in the year that you never play this game 100 percent. Every day something bothers you," Pujols said. "I think sometimes people take that for granted. They think we're automatic, that we are supposed to hit a ball out every time. They think you can't struggle in this game."

Pujols had a season-high four RBI and took over sole possession of second place on the Cardinals' RBI list with 1,150. Pujols trails only Stan Musial, who had 1,951 RBI for St. Louis.

"I've tried to explain his greatness to all our fans so that they never take him for granted," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He is a great, great baseball player."

The Cardinals, who will begin a three-game series against the NL Central-leading Reds on Monday, won their first series at Wrigley Field since taking two of three from the Cubs on April 20-22, 2007.

Wainwright (7-3) improved to 5-0 in his past eight starts against the Cubs. He allowed only one run on seven hits. He struck out eight and walked two.

Wainwright didn't mind taking a back seat to Pujols and the rest of the offense.

"Yeah, I love it. I wish it was like that every time. Albert made a lot of good swings today, a lot of our guys had good swings today," Wainwright said. "He's [Pujols] a self-taught genius at what he does."

The Cardinals finished a six-game road trip 3-3 and showed offensive life after getting shut out by Carlos Silva and the Cubs on Saturday. The Cardinals' 2-5 hitters had 12 of the team's 14 hits. Pujols' had three hits and Matt Holliday added four. Holliday is 10 for 17 in his past four games.

David Freese, who also had three hits, hit a two-run shot for the Cardinals.

All nine of the Cardinals' runs came after two outs.

Cubs starter Ryan Dempster (3-5) allowed six runs on nine hits. He struck out seven and walked three on 125 pitches.

"Today I didn't execute pitches when I needed to. I gave up six runs with two outs," Dempster said. "That's a lack of execution."

With two outs in the first, Pujols hit a towering shot on a 1-2 pitch that easily cleared the left-center bleachers and landed on Waveland Avenue.

"The first one he hits, it happens, but the second home run he fouled off a lot of really, really, really good pitches leading up to that, then I hung a slider right over the middle of the plate and he hit it off the firehouse across the street," Dempster said.

In the fifth, Pujols pulled Dempster's two-out, 3-2 pitch just inside the left-field foul pole and onto Waveland to give St. Louis a 4-0 lead. It was Pujols third multihomer game of the season and 36th overall and he is only one game behind Musial for most in club history.

Pujols' third home run of the game came off John Grabow in the ninth. He hit a 1-2 pitch to straightaway center for his 12th of the season. After Holliday singled, Freese hit his fourth home run of the season.

Geovany Soto hit a home run in the seventh for the Cubs, who wound up splitting a six-game homestand.

In the second inning with two outs, Aramis Ramirez tried to score from second on Starlin Castro's single, but center fielder Jon Jay threw out Ramirez at the plate.

The Cubs saw another scoring chance spoiled in the fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, Castro hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Brendan Ryan to set up an easy inning-ending double play.

Notes

  • Cubs RHP Carlos Zambrano will return to the starting rotation Wednesday at Pittsburgh. LHP Tom Gorzelanny will be moved to the bullpen.
  • Cubs manager Lou Piniella said the Cubs plan to call up RHP Andrew Cashner sometime during the upcoming three-game series at Pittsburgh. Cashner, who was the Cubs first pick in 2008, will be used as a reliever.
  • The 125 pitches thrown by Dempster are his most since throwing 126 on Sept. 8, 2001, vs. the Mets, while with the Marlins. His career high is 130 on Aug. 21, 2000, at San Francisco, while with Florida.
 
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 belts three home runs for the fourth time in his career and the first since 2006.  (Getty Images)
Albert Pujols belts three home runs for the fourth time in his career and the first since 2006. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

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

A. Wainwright
IP 7.0
H 7
ER 1
BB 2
K 8
 
St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, 2B5010021 .240
Ryan Ludwick, RF5221020 .286
Albert Pujols, 1B3434200 .310
Matt Holliday, LF5141001 .307
David Freese, 3B5133021 .316
Jon Jay, CF5010024 .243
Yadier Molina, C5000001 .258
Brendan Ryan, SS3100110 .198
Adam Wainwright, P3000001 .100
   a- Nick Stavinoha, PH1000000 .302
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
    Kyle McClellan, P00000001.000
Totals40914939  
a-grounded out for Wainwright in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ryan Ludwick (13, Dempster)
HR - Albert Pujols 3 (12, Dempster, Dempster, Grabow), David Freese (4, Grabow)
RBI - Ryan Ludwick (24), Albert Pujols 4 (38), Matt Holliday (20), David Freese 3 (31)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Ludwick (8), Albert Pujols 4 (20), Matt Holliday (11), David Freese 3 (20)
SB - Skip Schumaker (2, 2nd base off Dempster/Soto), Brendan Ryan (3, 3rd base off Dempster/Soto)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jon Jay 1
DP - Ryan-Schumaker-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Adam Wainwright (W,7-3) 7711281 2.28
Jason Motte 1000010 2.61
Kyle McClellan 1000000 2.01
Pitches-Strikes - Adam Wainwright 107-72, Jason Motte 18-11, Kyle McClellan 11-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Adam Wainwright 9-2, Kyle McClellan 2-1
Batters Faced - Adam Wainwright 28, Jason Motte 3, Kyle McClellan 3
Chicago Cubs
Kosuke Fukudome, RF4000011 .293
Ryan Theriot, 2B4010000 .286
Derrek Lee, 1B4000031 .237
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4010010 .166
Marlon Byrd, CF4010010 .302
Alfonso Soriano, LF3010110 .302
Geovany Soto, C3111112 .258
Starlin Castro, SS3020003 .313
Ryan Dempster, P2000000 .227
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
   a- Tyler Colvin, PH1000011 .310
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
Totals3217129  
a-struck out for Howry in the 7th
Batting
2B - Alfonso Soriano (16, Wainwright)
HR - Geovany Soto (5, Wainwright)
RBI - Geovany Soto (11)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Ramirez-Lee
E - Geovany Soto (1, Throwing)
Chicago Cubs
Ryan Dempster (L,3-5) 6.2966372 3.72
Bob Howry 0.1100000 9.00
John Grabow 2433022 9.45
IBB - Pujols by Ryan Dempster
Pitches-Strikes - Ryan Dempster 125-76, Bob Howry 6-6, John Grabow 43-30
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ryan Dempster 6-6, John Grabow 2-2
Batters Faced - Ryan Dempster 31, Bob Howry 2, John Grabow 10
Game Information
Attendance - 41353
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Mike Estabrook, First Base - Dan Bellino, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt