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Cards top Royals on Schumaker's 9th-inning HR

Jun 20, 2011 - 1:24 AM St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Skip Schumaker belted a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth, lifting the Cardinals to another dramatic 5-4 win over the Royals.

On Saturday, Matt Holliday crushed a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to propel St. Louis to the victory.

Sunday, it was Schumaker's turn.

Tim Collins (3-4) delivered a fastball over the plate and Schumaker sent it over the wall in right-center, giving the Cardinals the win in the three- game series.

The homer came after the red-hot Alcides Escobar tied the game with a solo blast in the top of the ninth against Fernando Salas (4-1).

Schumaker's teammates flooded onto the field after the ball sailed out of the park, setting up at the plate. He was engulfed by celebratory pats on the back, and the moment stood in stark contrast to one that took place three innings earlier, when star first baseman Albert Pujols was writhing on the ground in pain.

A collision at first base left Pujols with an apparent left wrist injury that Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said "scared the hell out of all of us."

The injury was termed a sprain and Pujols will be evaluated again Monday in St. Louis.

"I'm pretty sore right now," said Pujols. "To be honest, I can't give you too much until we do the X-ray tomorrow. Pretty much, right now, I'm telling you I'm sore in my wrist and my shoulder."

Pujols hit his 17th homer of the season earlier in the game, and finished 3- for-3. How much time he will miss remains to be seen, and a prolonged absence would hurt St. Louis, which had dropped seven in a row prior to winning the last two.

Neither of those victories came easily. The Cardinals won Saturday after the Royals grabbed the lead in the seventh inning, and Sunday's game was back-and- forth.

It looked like it was headed for extra innings thanks to Escobar, who led off the ninth inning. He worked the count full against Salas, who intended to throw the 10th pitch of the plate appearance away. But the fastball drifted up and in, and Escobar crushed it to left field.

The homer was his first of the year, but only continued the shortstop's recent success. Escobar went 2-for-3 and has hit 22-for-43 (.511) in his last 12 games, with seven extra-base hits. He has also posted eight multi-hit performances during Kansas City's nine-game road trip.

"Our kids have been playing so well," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "[Escobar] had a phenomenal at-bat to tie it up."

But the effort wasn't enough to give the Royals a winning record on the trip. They finished with a 4-5 mark after Sunday's loss, a deflating setback because of Schumaker's homer and an injury to rookie starter Danny Duffy.

The left-hander was making his seventh career start and struck out a career- high nine in 3 2/3 innings, but left because of cramping in his left calf.

He gave up two runs, both of which came in the first inning, when Cardinals rookie outfielder Andrew Brown singled with the bases loaded and nobody out.

Pujols beat the throw home to score the second run and give St. Louis a 2-1 lead -- Kansas City had started the scoring in the top half with Billy Butler's RBI double.

Alex Gordon's run-scoring base hit in the second inning tied the game, and the score remained that way until the fifth. With one out, Pujols ripped a pitch down the left field line for a 3-2 edge.

However, he suffered the injury in the next inning after Wilson Betemit hit a grounder up the middle. St. Louis second baseman Peter Kozma made a backhand stop on the ball and threw off-line to first, and Betemit ran into Pujols' hand as he reached toward home plate to grab the ball.

Pujols immediately dropped the glove and rolled on the ground in pain. He sat on the grass in foul territory as team staff examined him, and held the wrist as he left for the clubhouse.

Betemit later scored on Escobar's bunt single up the first base line. Berkman fielded the ball cleanly and looked to first, but nobody was there to catch the ball. By the time he turned toward home, Betemit was sliding across the plate.

But in a preview of things to come, Schumaker put St. Louis back on top in the bottom half. He entered the game as a pinch-hitter with a runner on second and hit an RBI single to left.

Game Notes

Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia allowed three runs -- two earned -- in 5 1/3 innings. He gave up seven runs, walked one and fanned five...Duffy allowed six hits and walked one...Kansas City was 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position...Schumaker recorded his second career walkoff homer, having hit the first May 2, 2008 against the Cubs.