Pujols Powers Cardinals Past Brewers
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Albert Pujols kicked off a 4-for-4 night with a solo homer and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 on Thursday to avoid a three-game sweep.
St. Louis pulled within four games of NL Central-leading Milwaukee, which has won 13 of 15. The Cardinals are the only team to beat the Brewers during their hot streak.
Pujols entered with just five hits in 42 at-bats against the Brewers. He ended the slide with a drive in the first against Yovani Gallardo (13-8), tying him with teammate Lance Berkman for the National League lead with 28 homers. Pujols added two singles against Gallardo, who lasted just five innings.
Chris Carpenter (8-8) gave up 10 hits in eight innings, but shut down the Brewers after they scored twice in the first. Fernando Salas finished for his 22nd save in 25 opportunities.
Rafael Furcal got St. Louis off to a fast start with a leadoff drive to right in the first. After Gallardo fanned Jon Jay, Pujols hit a tying drive over the wall in center.
Mark Kotsay, subbing for All-Star slugger Ryan Braun, reached three times and had an RBI double for Milwaukee. Prince Fielder had a run-scoring single to give him 88 RBIs.
St. Louis took its first lead of the series in the third with some help from the Brewers. Second baseman Felipe Lopez booted Furcal's ground ball leading off the inning, allowing him to reach first. Furcal was forced at second by Jay, but Pujols and Berkman followed with singles to plate Jay.
That same combination worked again in the fifth when Jay singled to right with two out, stole second and scored on Pujols' single to center. Pujols moved to third on Berkman's single to right and came home on a wild pitch to make it 5-2.
Gallardo gave up five runs, four earned, and seven hits.