for this game

Pujols, Wells power Cards over Astros

Apr 9, 2007 - 12:38 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- This is how the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals expect to play.

Albert Pujols hit his first homer of the season and Kip Wells gave up one hit over seven scoreless innings as the Cardinals cruised to a 10-1 victory over the Houston Astros in the rubber game of the three-game series.

Pujols, who had just one hit in his first 18 at-bats this season, belted Jason Jennings' pitch over the left-center field fence for a two-run shot in the third inning to give Wells all the cushion he would need.

"(I feel) a little better," Pujols said. "It's a long season. I think you need to make your adjustments. That's what I try to do every at-bat - try to find out how they are pitching me and adjust."

"(Pujols) isn't hitting the ball like he's hitting .350, but if he had just a couple fall in here and there, he'd be hitting .260 or .270," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He's not quite himself, but he's certainly not getting beat at the plate."

It was the 17th homer in 56 career games at Minute Maid Park for Pujols, who had two hits Sunday to avoid going hitless in this series, something the five-time All-Star has done only eight times in 310 career series.

Scott Rolen drove in four runs and Yadier Molina had three hits and three RBI for St. Louis. The 10 runs were three more than the Cardinals scored in their first four games.

"As a team we need to get going," Pujols said. "That's what we did today. Everyone contributed. We got two-out hits. Our goal was to win the series no matter what happened."

"You've got to start somewhere," La Russa said. "Winning a series is a big step, especially in their ballpark. Houston's always tough here."

Wells (1-1), signed in the offseason to help solidify the rotation, allowed just one walk and struck out seven. After giving up a second-inning single to Mark Loretta and hitting Chris Burke with a pitch, Wells set down the next 16 hitters before being relieved by Ryan Franklin to start the eighth.

"The first couple of innings, I was putting in a little more effort than as the game progressed," said Wells. "(Pitching coach Dave Duncan) told me to back off a little bit. It gave me a little better command and finesse. To me, that's something I constantly need to be aware of, not trying too hard."

"We looked like we didn't have any spring training at all today," Garner said. "We didn't have any good at-bats."

Wells, who missed the first half of 2006 after surgery to repair a blocked artery in his right arm, notched his first win since August 2, 2006.

"He's always impressed us (when he was) with the Pirates," La Russa said. "He's got excellent ability. He's in a good position with experience - and if he stays healthy - to start to reach his potential."

Franklin and Josh Hancock pitched an inning apiece to close it out. Luke Scott's RBI double in the ninth accounted for Houston's lone run.

Matched up against his former Baylor University teammate, Jennings (0-1) surrendered three runs and five hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings.

However, the bullpen surrendered seven runs over the final two innings, including five by closer Brad Lidge in the ninth.

"As a collective unit, we're struggling," Lidge said. "There are a lot of things we need to do better. At the same time, in 2005, we started off 15-30 and we did pretty good that year. Last year we were 19-9 and didn't make the playoffs. We need to start playing better, bottom line. We're not getting it done in a lot of ways."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ST LOUIS 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 5 10 13 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: STL - KIP WELLS, RYAN FRANKLIN (8TH), JOSH HANCOCK (9TH) AND YADIER
    MOLINA
    HOU - JASON JENNINGS, BRIAN MOEHLER (7TH), TREVER
    MILLER (8TH), DAN WHEELER (8TH), BRAD

    Apr 8 5:01 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY LUKE SCOTT SCORED MORGAN ENSBERG.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, L SCOTT ON SECOND, C LEE ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 10
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M LORETTA (.167, 1-FOR-3)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosApr 8 5:00 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY YADIER MOLINA SCORED SCOTT ROLEN AND SCOTT
    SPIEZIO.
    SITUATION: 5 RUNS IN, Y MOLINA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 10
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A KENNEDY (.188, 0-FOR-3, BB)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosApr 8 4:46 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY SCOTT ROLEN SCORED DAVID ECKSTEIN, SO TAGUCHI AND
    ALBERT PUJOLS.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, S ROLEN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 8
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: J EDMONDS (.231, 1-FOR-3, BB)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosApr 8 4:42 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY YADIER MOLINA SCORED ALBERT PUJOLS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, Y MOLINA ON FIRST, S ROLEN ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 5
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A KENNEDY (.200, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosApr 8 4:17 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY SCOTT ROLEN SCORED SO TAGUCHI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, S ROLEN ON FIRST, A PUJOLS ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 4
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: J EDMONDS (.250, 1-FOR-2, BB)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosApr 8 4:04 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ST LOUIS 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 3 6 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 (BOT 7)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: STL - KIP WELLS
    HOU - BRIAN MOEHLER

    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: L BERKMAN (.211, 0-FOR-2)
    C LEE (.263, 0-FOR-1, BB)
    L SCOTT (.214, 0-FOR-2)

    Apr 8 3:51 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ST LOUIS 0 1 2 0 3 5 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 (TOP 5)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: STL - KIP WELLS
    HOU - JASON JENNINGS

    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: D ECKSTEIN (.211, 0-FOR-2)
    C DUNCAN (.375, 0-FOR-1, BB)
    A PUJOLS (.105, 1-FOR-2, HR, 2 RBI)

    Apr 8 3:15 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY ALBERT PUJOLS (1) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 3RD OFF JASON JENNINGS SCORED CHRIS DUNCAN.
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 3, HOUSTON 0
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: S ROLEN (.111, 0-FOR-1)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosApr 8 2:46 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ST LOUIS 0 1 1 2 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 (BOT 2)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: STL - KIP WELLS
    HOU - JASON JENNINGS

    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.278, 1 HR, 5 RBI)
    L SCOTT (.250, 1 HR, 2 RBI)
    M LORETTA (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Apr 8 2:28 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    WILD PITCH BY JASON JENNINGS ALLOWED JIM EDMONDS TO
    SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A KENNEDY ON FIRST, P WILSON ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 1
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: K WELLS (.000, 0-FOR-0)

    Cardinals vs. AstrosApr 8 2:28 PM