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Cardinals come calling and Brewers get the message

The Sports Xchange

The Cardinals left a calling card that the National League Central race is not quite over.

And Albert Pujols served notice that an 11th consecutive season of at least .300 average, 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in still is possible.

Milwaukee entered a three-game home series with the Cardinals with a 50-16 home record. That mark is 50-19 now after the Cardinals swept the set with an 8-4 victory Wednesday that cut their deficit in the division race to 7 1/2 games, with three games left with Milwaukee at home next week.

"Taking three games out of three was more than we were asking for," Pujols said.

Pujols, meanwhile, had his best offensive day of the season with four hits, including two home runs, and five RBI. He raised his average to a season-high .292 and his RBI total to 84 with his 33rd and 34th home runs.

That total leads the league and the second homer was the 12th grand slam of his career.

In bases-loaded situations for his career, Pujols is 48-for-125 (.384) with an astonishing 163 RBI. Both home runs on Thursday came off right-handed ace Yovani Gallardo.

"Is he the same Albert? The answer is 'yes,' " manager Tony La Russa said.

The Cardinals hit two more home runs off Gallardo, by shortstop Rafael Furcal and left fielder Matt Holliday. Holliday's was the 200th of his career.

Furcal's was his second leadoff home run in two nights and the 29th of his career. As he did on Wednesday, Pujols followed with a solo home run of his own in the first inning. This one went 462 feet to left field.

"(Gallardo) left a couple of pitches up and we took advantage," said Pujols, who drilled his grand slam to the opposite field.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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