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Pujols' first HR since early July ends skid

Sunday, July 27, 2008


The Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer in the 14th inning for his fifth hit of the night, Skip Schumaker did him one better with a career-best six hits and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the New York Mets 10-8 Saturday to snap a season-worst five-game losing streak.

Schumaker singled with one out in the 14th against a tiring Aaron Heilman (1-4). Ryan Ludwick struck out before Pujols hit a 2-0 pitch into the bleachers in left field for his first home run since he connected for No. 300 on July 4.

Brad Thompson (3-2) worked two perfect innings for the win.

Struggling Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin blew his second straight save, surrendering a leadoff homer to Fernando Tatis in the ninth inning. Rick Ankiel leaped for it at the wall and crashed to the warning track, and for a moment the entire stadium wondered whether he had caught it.

Ankiel stood up and slapped his empty glove in frustration, and Tatis finished rounding the bases to tie it at 8-8. It was the fifth homer Franklin has allowed in his last nine outings.

The Mets had several chances to win it in extra innings.

Pinch-hitter Ramon Castro grounded out with runners at second and third to end the 11th, and New York loaded the bases with three straight two-out walks in the 12th before Kelvin Jimenez got Tatis to break his bat on a harmless bouncer back to the pitcher.

The Cardinals stranded 17 runners, the Mets 16.

Troy Glaus, Yadier Molina and Aaron Miles each drove in a pair of runs for St. Louis, which denied the Mets their fourth straight win.

Carlos Delgado hit a pair of homers and finished with three RBIs for New York, which got a gutsy performance from Brandon Knight in his first major league start. Jose Reyes also homered and had two doubles among his four hits a day after getting married.

The game lasted 5 hours, 9 minutes, and the teams combined to use 16 pitchers -- 17, if you count Cardinals starter Braden Looper striking out as a pinch hitter in the 13th.

Filling in for Pedro Martinez, who is on the bereavement list following the death of his father, Knight surrendered four runs in the first but shut the Cardinals out over the next four innings and left with a 5-4 lead.

St. Louis went ahead in the sixth. Pujols, Glaus and Molina had RBI singles before Miles doubled in Glaus to make it 8-5.

Delgado hit a two-run homer in the bottom half, his 11th in the last 26 games, getting the Mets close enough for Tatis to tie it in the ninth.

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