Pujols propels Cards to victory

Saturday, June 7, 2003

Slugger's three-run double rallies St. Louis to 8-6 win over Orioles.

By R.B. Fallstrom ~ The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols capped a four-hit game with a three-run double in the eighth inning as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-6 Friday night, extending their winning streak to five games.

Pujols has seven straight hits, hiking his major league-leading average to .391, and is 19-for-29 during an eight-game hitting streak. He was 4-for-4 with three singles and four RBIs in the first meeting between the former St. Louis rivals.

Deivi Cruz doubled for the third time and scored the go-ahead run on Geronimo Gil's eighth-inning single as the Orioles recovered from a five-run deficit to take a 6-5 lead.

The Cardinals responded with a two-out rally against closer Jorge Julio (0-4). Tino Martinez singled to start the eighth and, with two outs, Miguel Cairo was hit by a pitch and pinch-hitter J.D. Drew walked to load the bases. Pujols then doubled sharply to left to clear the bases.

Melvin Mora extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a single in the fourth, but Baltimore has lost four in a row.

The Browns left St. Louis to become the Baltimore Orioles after going 54-100 in 1953. The teams will wear vintage uniforms from 1944 -- when they met in the World Series -- on Saturday, with the Orioles donning Browns jerseys.

Esteban Yan (1-0), who has allowed five runs in 5 2-3 innings since being acquired from the Rangers on May 27, was the winner. Cal Eldred worked the ninth for his sixth save in eight chances.

Cruz, who had an RBI double in a four-run fifth and another RBI double in the sixth, doubled again with one out in the eighth off Yan. Gil followed with a single to right for the lead.

The Cardinals scored five runs in the fourth on five hits to break a scoreless tie. Chris Widger, who had been 1-for-18 since his contract was purchased from Triple-A Memphis on May 13, had the big hit with a two-run double over the head of center fielder Luis Matos.

Pujols and Martinez each drove in a run, and another run scored on a balk.

Cardinals starter Brett Tomko sailed through the first four innings, giving up two hits. But the Orioles answered with four runs in the fifth, including RBI doubles by Cruz, Gil and Brian Roberts in a four-batter span.

Tomko was yanked after giving up two more extra-base hits, a triple by Tony Batista and an RBI double by Cruz, in consecutive at-bats with one out in the fifth to tie it at 5. The right-hander is 0-2 in seven starts since his last victory April 25 at Florida.

Widger, the Cardinals' backup catcher, bruised his right thumb making a throw on a steal attempt and was removed in the fifth inning. Widger hit his hand on Mora's helmet on the follow-through, and Mora was called out for interference.

Noteworthy

  • Matos was 2-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, and had two steals.

  • St. Louis' Kerry Robinson is 0-for-9 as a pinch-hitter after lining out to center in the sixth.

  • Martinez has 12 RBIs in the last 13 games.

  • Cardinals RHP Dustin Hermanson, who allowed five runs on four hits and didn't get an out Thursday, retired the last two batters in the sixth. On Thursday, he pitched for the first time in 11 days.

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