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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Cardinals top Astros 6-4

Cardinals top Astros 6-4
Albert Pujols hits a solo home
April 9, 2008--Abert Pujols hits a solo home run in the seventh inning.
(Bob Levey/AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — Albert Pujols hit his first two homers of the year and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Houston Astros 6-4 on Wednesday night to take their third straight series.

Pujols also had an RBI-single and Rick Ankiel added two RBIs.

Pujols ended the longest home run drought to start the year in his career, hitting two in his ninth game. His previous long season-opening drought was five games, last season. He actually homered in the Cardinals first try at their opener, but it was called in the third inning because of rain and the stats were erased.

St. Louis opened the season with series wins over Colorado and Washington before taking this one 2-1. They won three consecutive series’ just once last season.

A two-run sixth inning cut the Cardinals lead to one before Pujols’ first home run, a shot to left center field to start the seventh, stretched the lead to 5-3.

Michael Bourn’s run-scoring double off Randy Flores in the seventh put the score at 5-4. But Skip Schumaker caught a fly by Hunter Pence to end the inning with Ryan Franklin pitching.

Pujols answered again, this time sending one to right field in the ninth.

Franklin also pitched a scoreless eighth before Jason Isringhausen did the same in the ninth for his fifth save.

Pence doubled and scored on a double by Lance Berkman that made it 4-2 in the sixth inning. An RBI single by Carlos Lee chased Cardinals starter Braden Looper (2-0) and cut the lead to 4-3.

Miguel Tejada doubled and scored Houston’s first run on a sacrifice fly by Mark Loretta in the fifth inning.
A day after breaking a 0-for-16 slump, Schumaker doubled before scoring on a single by Ankiel in the fifth that made it 4-0.

Looper allowed five hits and three runs in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out four.

A RBI-single by Pujols made it 1-0 in the first inning. Chris Duncan scored later in the inning on a single by Troy Glaus.
Ankiel’s double in the third scored Duncan and pushed the Cardinals lead to 3-0.

Houston starter Chris Sampson (0-1), who has struggled with flu-like symptoms all week, lasted four innings. He allowed six hits and three runs.

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