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Pujols powers Cards to 9th straight win

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ST. LOUIS (AP)

Albert Pujols put everything he could into the pitch from Cubs rookie reliever David Patton, and the result was hardly a surprise. Pujols hit his second grand slam of the season and surpassed 1,000 career RBIs, sending St. Louis to an 8-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday and giving the surging Cardinals their ninth straight home win. "I hit that ball really good, I'm not going to lie to you," Pujols said. "That's all I got. I hit that ball as good as you can hit a ball. I'm just blessed that I put a good swing on it." The Cardinals have won 10 of their 12 home games this season and are 13-5 overall, good for first place in the NL Central. Pujols drove the first pitch from Patton in the seventh inning to left field an estimated 441 feet. It was the eighth career grand slam for Pujols, who is hitting .348 with 25 RBIs and seven homers already this season. Patton gave up a single and two walks aound a sacrifice bunt to set up Pujols. "You can't walk people in front of Pujols," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "You might be able to do that in Modesto, but over here, I would suggest not. He hit that ball, I'll tell you." Patton pitched the past two seasons for Class-A Modesto before being acquired last December by the Cubs from Cincinnati. He said he wanted to throw a strike to Pujols to try and get ahead in the count. "I was up there throwing strikes. That was my mind-set," Patton said. "That's what I wanted to do. I guess you saw what happened." St. Louis manager Tony La Russa certainly did — and he's been seeing it 2001. "What a player," La Russa said. "It's a pleasure to watch him play. Actually, it's a pleasure to watch him practice. It's a pleasure to watch him in the clubhouse. It's a pleasure to watch him in the community. He's an amazing man. The four RBIs gave Pujols 1,002 in his career, making him the sixth Cardinals player to reach that milestone. The others are Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter, Jim Bottomley, Rogers Hornsby and Kenny Boyer. All but Boyer are Hall of Famers. "It's an honor and really humbling to reach this goal of having 1,000 RBIs in my career," Pujols said. "I love to do what I do." The Cubs have lost their last four games, dropping to 8-8 on the season. The defending NL Central champs scored just five runs in those four losses. "It's not good. Boy, we certainly haven't done much offensively in a while," Piniella said. "It's got to get better." Mitchell Boggs (1-0) pitched 5 2-3 innings, allowing six hits, a walk and two wild pitches in his first start of the season for St. Louis. The lone run against him was unearned. The Cardinals recalled Boggs, who was 3-2 in two stints with St. Louis last season, on April 15 to replace the injured Chris Carpenter. "Last year was a huge learning experience for me," Boggs said. "I was given the ball today and given the opportunity to help the team win and that matters to me. I'll do my job whenever they ask me to do it." Sean Marshall (0-1) pitched six innings, allowing three runs and six hits in the loss. The Cardinals took a 3-0 lead in the fourth, with Brian Barden's hit doing the most damage, driving in Yadier Molina and Khalil Greene. The Cardinals were never seriously threatened after that.

Notes

Molina was presented his 2008 Rawlings Gold Glove before the game. ... Alfonso Soriano struck out three times and popped out to snap his 10-game hitting streak. ... A crowd of 46,707, the fourth largest in the history of new Busch Stadium, saw the game. It was the third sellout of the season and second in this series. The other sellout came on opening day. ... Pujols shares the Cardinals record of 32 RBIs in April with Mark McGwire and he's seven shy of that total with six games remaining this month. ... the Cardinals are 35-0 when scoring eight or more runs against the Cubs, dating to their last loss (11-9) on Sept. 22, 1993.
Tagged: Cubs, Cardinals

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