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Pujols' 3 HRs spur Cardinals to 16-7 romp

Oct 23, 2011 - 5:26 AM Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Hitless in the first two games of this World Series, St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols broke out in a huge way Saturday night in Game 3 against Texas, tying a Fall Classic record with three home runs in a 16-7 victory.

Pujols equaled the mark set by Babe Ruth (1926, 1928) and tied by fellow Yankee Reggie Jackson (1977).

"There were a couple times in that dugout about the middle of the game somebody kept saying, he's having a day he'll never forget, and that's kind of what he did," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "What did he get, five hits, three home runs? And against that club, there wasn't any of that production we didn't need. He's the latest example of how great he is. You saw it tonight."

Pujols smacked a three-run homer off Alexi Ogando in the sixth inning and a two-run shot off Mike Gonzalez in the seventh. With two outs in the ninth, Pujols took a Darren Oliver fastball over the wall in left field.

"All you try and do is just put a good swing," Pujols said of the final homer. "Don't try to expand the strike zone, and hopefully let the barrel of the bat catch the ball and maybe go out of the park. But I wasn't thinking about it."

The five hits and six RBI by Pujols matched a World Series record.

"I felt that I swung the bat pretty good the last couple of games and...that's the way baseball goes," Pujols said. "It is what it is, and you just have to make sure you don't get frustrated and just make sure that you bounce back the next day, that whatever it takes our ballclub to win. Obviously it's a blessing to be able to do that today."

Earlier, Pujols became the first player in World Series history with hits in four straight innings.

The Cardinals scored 15 runs between the fourth and ninth innings to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Yadier Molina drove in four runs for the Cardinals. Allen Craig, the second batter of the night, hit a Matt Harrison pitch over the wall in left field.

A blown call opened the door for the Cardinals in the fourth inning. The Rangers should have turned a double play of what was a 1-0 game, but Ron Kulpa, a St. Louis native, ruled Matt Holliday safe on a poor call despite first baseman Mike Napoli applying the tag clearly in time.

St. Louis scored four times in the fourth, three in the fifth, four in the sixth and twice in the seventh to become the first team in Fall Classic history with four straight multi-run innings.

Michael Young and Nelson Cruz homered in the fourth for Texas, which got four hits and an RBI from Adrian Beltre. The Rangers were within 8-6 after five, but Pujols crushed a 423-foot homer off the facing of the second deck in left the following inning.

"He's a strong kid, and no one felt worse than Ogando when he didn't get the job done," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "But it's our job to make sure that his confidence doesn't wane. We've got his back, and he got a ball up to Albert, and he didn't miss it. After that, he just couldn't command the baseball."

Game 4 is Sunday night, again at Rangers Ballpark. Edwin Jackson will be on the mound for the Cardinals and Derek Holland for the Rangers.

Pujols singled leading off the fourth inning. Holliday then hit a tailor- made 6-4-3 double-play grounder, but the throw from second baseman Ian Kinsler was high. Replays showed Napoli making the tag on the neck of Holliday before he reached the bag, but Kulpa signaled safe.

"At the time of the play, I had him on the base at the time of his tag. I had a tag, but I had him on the base," Kulpa said.

The chorus of boos at Rangers Ballpark grew in volume after the Cardinals mounted a rally. Lance Berkman singled to right field and David Freese extended his postseason hitting streak to 13 games by reaching for an outside pitch and doubling down the right field line.

After Molina was intentionally walked to fill the bases, Jon Jay hit a bouncer to a charging Napoli, but his throw to the plate was off line and got by Yorvit Torrealba, resulting in a 4-0 margin.

It became a five-run difference when Ryan Theriot followed with an RBI ground single into left field off Harrison (0-1).

Young homered to right leading off the bottom of the fourth. After Beltre singled, Cruz clubbed his seventh homer of this postseason, barely over the wall in right, off starter Kyle Lohse. The Rangers could have had more runs in the fourth, but Fernando Salas escaped the jam. Kinsler hit a fly ball tight to the line in left. Napoli tried to score, but was thrown out at the plate by Holliday to complete the inning.

The fifth inning then produced three runs from each club, but the Rangers failed on a big chance to possibly move in front.

After the Cardinals loaded the bases with nobody out against Scott Feldman, Freese's broken-bat slow bouncer to Beltre plated one run. Molina then lined a double to left field for an 8-3 cushion.

Young's double plated Elvis Andrus in the bottom half, putting two men in scoring position, and Beltre made it four straight hits with his RBI looping single to left off Lance Lynn (1-0). Two batters later, Napoli lifted a sacrifice fly to right. Walks to David Murphy and Torrealba set up Kinsler for possibly the tying or go-ahead hit, but he popped out to shortstop.

"Tony gave me the ball and he has a lot of confidence in me," Lynn said. "That goes a long way for me knowing that the manager has a lot of confidence in me to let me go out there and try to get multiple outs."

Ogando walked Theriot to start the sixth. Rafael Furcal followed with a single, and with one out Pujols got hold of a high fastball and drove it off the facing of the second deck in left. Molina's bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right plated Holliday later in the frame.

Pujols homered to left-center with Craig aboard in the seventh and Napoli lifted a sac fly in the bottom half.

Molina doubled in a run in the eighth.

Game Notes

Milwaukee's Paul Molitor had the only other five-hit game in the World Series, in 1982 against the Cardinals. The Yankees' Bobby Richardson (1960) and Hideki Matsui (2009) also had six RBI performances...Pujols also set a World Series record with 14 total bases.






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