Slugger clubs his first home run of the season
ST. LOUIS -- Troy Glaus knew it would come, eventually. He's played baseball long enough to know that he would end his home run drought at some point. Even so, when Glaus did finally connect for his first homer since last September, it was a big deal.
Glaus didn't stand admiring the ball, but he kept his eyes open. And when home run No. 1 in a St. Louis uniform cleared the 400-foot sign at Busch Stadium, Glaus gave a fist pump. His big fly was the biggest hit in a four-run fifth inning, as the Cardinals beat the Astros, 5-1, at Busch Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
It had been 27 games, dating back to Sept. 7, 2007, since Glaus hit a home run.
"I'm not one to stand and watch anyway," Glaus said. "At that point, I was hoping it was going to get over [center fielder Michael Bourn's] head and that would score one run and put us up by two. It would have been 3-1 at that point."
Instead, it was 4-1, and Glaus was off the schneid.
He'd been contributing, so Glaus was able to keep from hanging his head. Glaus leads the National League in doubles, he's on pace for 100 RBIs, and he's drawn 13 walks in 25 games. But there was the matter of that zero in the home run column -- particularly notable for a man with 277 dingers in his career.
"There were a lot of good things that happened today," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, "but I'm not sure anybody feels better than Troy. ... He's a power hitter. Sitting on zero, we tell him to pay attention to the doubles, but he wants a home run somewhere, and he got one."
Coincidentally, Glaus' jack came on the same day as Scott Rolen hit his first home run as a Toronto Blue Jay, after missing the season's first three-plus weeks with an injury. Glaus and Rolen were traded for one another in January.
Albert Pujols added a solo home run for St. Louis, which had gone eight straight games without a homer. Ryan Ludwick drilled a two-run double.
Rick Ankiel and Pujols each walked with one out to start the fifth-inning rally against Astros starter Brandon Backe. Ludwick cranked a double to deep right-center, scoring both men and giving the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. Glaus followed with a long ball to center, ending his homerless streak. It was the second-longest such string of his career.
"I'm just happy for him," Pujols said. "Just watch out from now on. Now, he doesn't have to worry about it. He got that first one out of the way, and [to] do it here in our stadium is great. Hopefully, he can keep it going and help us to win."
Kyle Lohse pitched six excellent innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out three. Lohse is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts at Busch Stadium this season. Kyle McClellan tossed three perfect innings of relief for the Redbirds, earning the first save of his Major League career.
"It's a good feeling," McClellan said. "That's what the team needed today, was three innings, so I'm glad I was able to get that done. We've got a guy [Jason Isringhausen] that's pretty good, so we'll let him take care of the saves. I just go in [the dugout] and wait for them to tell me if I'm going out or we've got somebody else coming in."
Both benches and bullpens emptied in the fifth when Yadier Molina took exception to a Backe pitch that came high and inside on the catcher. No punches were thrown, as the two teams argued but did not actually fight for the second straight day.
The Cardinals improved to 16-10 on the season, including 10-5 at Busch Stadium. They moved within one-half game of the first-place Cubs in the NL Central.