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News » Astros see yet another HR clinic from Pujols Cards slugger goes deep twice, has seven RBIs ASTROS: Wright gives up four runs


Astros see yet another HR clinic from Pujols Cards slugger goes deep twice, has seven RBIs ASTROS: Wright gives up four runs


Astros see yet another HR clinic from Pujols Cards slugger goes deep twice, has seven RBIs ASTROS: Wright gives up four runs
Astros update

Saturday: Cardinals 11, Astros 2.

Record: 1-4.

Today: At St. Louis, Busch Stadium, 1:15 p.m.

Pitchers: Wandy Rodriguez (0-0) vs. Kyle Lohse (1-0).

TV/radio: KTXH; 740 AM, 1010 AM (Spanish).

ST. LOUIS - Astros manager Cecil Cooper might want to start scouring the Internet to find some kind of Albert Pujols voodoo doll and begin filling it with pins.

There seems to be no other answer for the Astros when it comes to neutralizing the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, who put on a spectacular show Saturday afternoon.

Pujols socked a grand slam and a three-run homer in consecutive at-bats and tied his career high with seven RBIs as the St. Louis Cardinals crushed the Astros 11-2 at Busch Stadium.

"He's the best hitter in the game," Astros first baseman Lance Berkman said. "He continues to do things that are amazing. I don't think anything he did would surprise me. If he homered in 10 straight at-bats, it wouldn't surprise me. He's that good."

St. Louis battered Astros pitchers Roy Oswalt, Wesley Wright and LaTroy Hawkins for 19 hits. Even Cardinals reliever Brad Thompson got in on the act with a single.

When asked about Pujols after the game, Cooper was a man of few words.

"Best player in the game," he said.

Oswalt (6.23 ERA) fell to 0-2 for the second year in a row after giving up nine hits and six runs in six innings. Pujols tagged him for a 431-foot grand slam in the fifth inning that put the Cardinals in control 6-0.

Being too fine

"The way we've been scoring, instead of throwing to get around him and get to other guys, I was trying to get a double play and leave the game at 2-0 instead of maybe putting him on and making it 3-0 and try to get out of it from there," Oswalt said. "I did the same thing last year, first two games. We didn't do well offensively and I was trying to be too fine and not give up one or two runs instead of just pitch."

Oswalt wasn't nearly as ineffective as Wright, who gave up seven consecutive hits and four runs to start the seventh, including a line-drive, three-run homer to Pujols that landed just inside the left-field foul pole.

"He's a tough out," Wright said. "You make good pitches and that's all you can hope for. You can't control whether he hits them or not. I think I made pretty decent pitches on him. The home run was a slider down and in, and he was able to get the barrel on it and get it down the left-field line."

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (1-0), who improved to 6-0 lifetime against the Astros , teetered on the brink of disaster the first three innings, pitching his way out of jams each time.

His pitch count soared, and he lasted only five innings after throwing 102 pitches.

"The first three innings, we thought we could score some runs," said shortstop Miguel Tejada (0-for-4). "We had the opportunity to do it but didn't do it."

Eight men out

The Astros avoided getting shut out when Michael Bourn had an RBI triple and scored in the ninth. They were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners for the second game in a row.

"It's frustrating whenever you keep getting guys on base and you can't come up with any runs," Berkman said. "It seems like we've done that a lot, but the good news is we're getting guys on base against pretty tough pitching, and I think given enough chances we're going to score runs in bunches. We just haven't done it yet."

brian.mctaggart@chron.com


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 14, 2009

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