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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Glaus gets first Cards HR in win over Backe, Astros

Astros starter Brandon Backe (right) looks over the shoulder of Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols after reaching first on a single in the third inning of Sunday's game at Busch Stadium. It was the first game since Backe and Pujols were involved in a verbal exchange in Houston earlier this month. The Cards won 5-1, winning two of three games in the weekend series.

Troy Glaus got his first homer and curtain call with St. Louis on Sunday. Not bad for someone getting over pink eye.

Glaus and Albert Pujols went deep to lead the Cardinals to a 5-1 victory over the Houston Astros.

Glaus, who was acquired in an offseason trade that sent Scott Rolen to Toronto, entered the game leading the major leagues with the most RBIs without a home run. Glaus went 87 at-bats before hitting a 1-1 offering from Brandon Backe (1-3) to center field for his 16th and 17th RBIs to cap a four-run fifth inning.

"It was a good feeling," said Glaus, who popped out of the dugout and doffed his cap to the crowd after receiving an extended ovation. "But more importantly we had a good win today and took the series."

Glaus left Friday night's game with watery eyes and blurred vision, and the team said he is suffering from allergic conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye. He went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly Saturday.

Glaus' homer was the first in nine games for the Cardinals and scored Ryan Ludwick, who doubled in Rick Ankiel and Pujols to put St. Louis in front 2-1.

"That's a big, big hit for that part of the game," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He's a power hitter, so sitting on zero, he wants a home run to come somewhere, and he got one."

For the second time in two days, both benches and bullpens cleared without any punches being thrown. After Yadier Molina called timeout during Backe's windup in the fifth, the Cardinals catcher took exception to Backe's next pitch, an up-and-in fastball. Molina immediately took several steps toward the mound, twice pushing his counterpart J.R. Towles in an attempt to get to Backe. After calm was quickly restored, umpire Jim Joyce warned both teams.

"I can understand him getting a little upset because it was so high," said Backe, who added he meant to throw inside but not as close to Molina's face as the pitch went. "I think he overreacted as far as causing such a big scene but I don't think he shouldn't have gotten mad at me for throwing the ball up around his head."

La Russa agreed with Backe's assessment and dismissed a second question about the situation.

Kyle Lohse (3-0) went six innings for St. Louis, giving up four hits and one earned run. He also struck out three. Kyle McClellan earned his first career save, striking out two in three perfect innings.

"They pitched good every game we played," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "You've got to give them some credit for pitching as well as they have."

Pujols hit a drive off Brian Moehler in the seventh for his fifth homer of the season and first since April 18 against San Francisco.

Lance Berkman singled to start the second and scored on Mark Loretta's base hit. It marked the only time an Astros runner got beyond second base.

Notes: Lohse and McClellan combined to retire the final 16 Houston batters.

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