Pujols continues hot streak in win against Baltimore

Saturday, March 15, 2003

JUPITER, Fla. -- Albert Pujols hit in his 14th straight spring training game and drove in three more runs to lead the Cardinals to a 7-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

Pujols, the NL Rookie of the Year in 2001 and MVP runner-up last season, has hit safely in every game this spring and leads the NL with 21 RBIs.

Pujols had a two-run single in the fourth and an RBI double in the fifth, both off Pat Hentgen.

"I won't lie, I feel good at the plate," Pujols said. "I'm pretty sure I'm going to cool off in a little while, but I hope it happens during the spring."

Pujols has 19 hits -- 12 for extra bases -- is batting .442 and has seven more RBIs than Jim Edmonds' team-leading total all last spring. Last season, Pujols batted .314 with 34 homers, 127 RBIs and 118 runs, trailing only Barry Bonds in MVP voting.

The Cardinals batted around in the fourth against Hentgen and scored four runs -- three earned -- on four hits. Hentgen allowed one hit the first three innings, but his outing went downhill after he tried to make a barehanded stop of Miguel Cairo's hard grounder that bounded away for a single to start the fourth.

"It was coincidental," Hentgen said. "I just left some balls up. You go middle, middle and you can't pitch like that in this league."

Tino Martinez added an RBI double in the fifth for St. Louis.

Hentgen, who spent most of last season on the disabled list rehabbing from elbow surgery, has given up 13 earned runs in 14 innings this spring.

Larry Bigbie hit a two-run homer off Garrett Stephenson in the fifth for the Orioles. Brian Roberts added an RBI double in the third.

Stephenson, among four candidates for two starting spots, worked five innings for the second straight start. After retiring the first seven hitters, he struggled and allowed three runs and seven hits.


  • OF So Taguchi, a Japanese import signed last year by the Cardinals, took some grounders at second base on a back field before the game. Taguchi spent almost all of last season in the minors.

    Cardinals RHP Al Levine retired only two of six batters in the Orioles' two-run sixth, giving up a two-run double to pinch hitter Jack Cust. Levine has given up eight runs in seven innings.

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