Pujols sets bar higher after tying Card legend
Posted: Thursday, July 1, 2010 6:08 am
By R.B. FALLSTROM
AP Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Albert Pujols matched Stan Musial to reach another milestone. Still, the Cardinals current star is less than thrilled with his season so far.
Pujols recorded his 37th career multihomer game with a pair of two-run shots, tying the Hall of Famer who’s honored with two statues outside Busch Stadium in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 8-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
“It’s pretty special,” said Pujols, who had a season-best five RBIs. “I’m blessed to have the opportunity to be compared sometimes with him.”
Dontrelle Willis (1-1) had another wild outing for the Diamondbacks, walking six, hitting a batter and getting lucky on a really wild pitch thrown behind a batter that caromed back to catcher Miguel Montero for a tag play at the plate in the fourth. The Cardinals had 14 baserunners in 23 at-bats against the 28-year-old lefty, who retired none of four batters to start the fifth and has walked 13 in 71⁄3 innings his last two starts.
“It’s been tough, because I feel like I’ve been one pitch away from getting out of some jams,” Willis said. “It’s almost like I feel I’d rather give up 12 runs and get out early than be in battling.
“But that’s the beauty of it, you have to battle and kind of make your own breaks.”
Adam Wainwright (11-5) handcuffed the Diamondbacks into the seventh for his major league-record 23rd consecutive quality start at home, four more than any other pitcher in history, and improved to 8-0 with a 1.49 ERA at home. Wainwright, who scored the winning run on a throwing error on Monday, rebounded smartly from a season-low four-inning outing in his last start, and added an RBI single and two walks off Willis.
“Really, I just tried to go out there and not let my last outing affect me,” Wainwright said. “Just go out and pitch a good quality game and do what I do, throw strikes, get ahead in the count and put them away with my stuff.”
Pujols hasn’t matched his start from last season, when he had 32 homers and 87 RBIs at the All-Star break. He had eight extra-base hits in June until Tuesday. But he’s tied for the NL lead with 18 homers after getting three the last three games, and among the leaders with 57 RBIs and a .312 average. His four multihomer games ties for the major’s most.
“I can say I’m not happy with the way things have gone this season,” Pujols said. “But at the same time, if you look at it, it’s kind of being greedy if you look at my numbers.”
Felipe Lopez had four hits to match his career best and scored three times. Matt Holliday had two hits and two walks, although he missed out on a two-double game when he was tagged out after oversliding second in the third.
Willis’ wildness didn’t cost him early, with the Cardinals leaving the bases loaded and stranding two in the second.
Lopez got a leadoff single ahead of both of Pujols two-run homers, the first on a drive over the visitors’ bullpen in left-center in the third and the second to straightaway center in the fifth to make it 4-0.
The Diamondbacks have lost 18 of 21 on the road.
Published in The Messenger 6.30.10