Pujols Pulls Out of Slump With 2 Homers

Monday, April 16th 2007, 7:30 am
By: News On 6

Albert Pujols wasn't concerned about his slow start.

The Cardinals slugger came into Sunday's game with a .158 average and 2 RBIs before homering twice and driving in five runs in St. Louis' 10-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

After the game he said he was never worried.

``Obviously, this year hasn't been working out early,'' Pujols said. ``But just because I haven't found myself at the plate I don't want to go crazy.''

On a day a nor'easter pounded much of the East Coast and forced the cancellation of games at three National League sites, Cardinals fans enjoyed the show put on by Pujols, who hit a major-league record 14 home runs last April.

His teammates, too, were glad to see Pujols' performance.

``It's a good day,'' Preston Wilson said. ``Anytime you have a day where the superstar in your lineup kind of starts heating up, it makes the whole team feel good.''

The Nationals and Mets were rained out in New York, the Astros and Phillies were rained out in Philadelphia, and a doubleheader between the Giants and Pirates was canceled in Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals' offense, which has struggled in the early going, had 13 hits. Chris Duncan had a career-high four of them, including his third homer of the season.

The Cardinals, who had scored four runs during an 0-4 start at Busch Stadium, got their first home victory against Brewers ace Ben Sheets (1-2), who fell to 4-14 in 22 career starts against St. Louis.

``I don't think I always struggle,'' said Sheets, who has a 4.36 career ERA against the Cardinals. ``I don't come out on the winning end all the time, but I've had plenty of good games against these guys and I've had plenty of games like today.''

In other National League games, it was Los Angeles 9, San Diego 3; Atlanta 8, Florida 4; Cincinnati 1, Chicago 0; and Arizona 6, Colorado 4.

Pujols lined a 2-0 Sheets fastball into the Brewers' bullpen to give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead in the first inning and then connecting off Elmer Dessens leading off the eighth. It was Pujols' 17th career multihomer game.

Braden Looper (2-1) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, and has won two of his first three major league starts after making 572 consecutive relief appearances.

Sheets allowed a single and two walks to load the bases in the sixth, and then hit pinch hitter Scott Spiezio to force in a run. That chased the Brewers ace, whose start was pushed back two days after he warmed up before Friday night's game was postponed by rain.

``That's a real nice excuse but no, we're not going to use that and Benny won't use it, either,'' manager Ned Yost said. ``He was just kind of fighting himself all day.''

Dodgers 9, Padres 3

At Los Angeles, The Dodgers honored Jackie Robinson with a pregame ceremony on the 60th anniversary of the day he broke the major league's color barrier.

All the Dodgers wore No. 42, the number Robinson wore when he played for Brooklyn in 1947.

Padres starter Chris Young had a string of 25 consecutive road starts without a loss snapped. Young was 9-0 on the road dating to June 25, 2005, at Houston when he was with Texas. Young (1-1) allowed five runs in two-plus innings.

Andre Ethier homered and drove in his first four runs of the season for the Dodgers. Randy Wolf (2-1) allowed six hits and three runs in six innings and struck out seven.

Braves 8, Marlins 4

In Atlanta, Chipper Jones hit a three-run homer and Andruw Jones added a two-run shot to back Tim Hudson's strong pitching in a victory over Florida.

It was the third home run in four games for Chipper Jones, who has seven RBIs during that stretch. His drive in the third inning off Scott Olsen (2-1) capped a five-run inning. Andruw Jones hit his third of season in the fifth off Rick Vanden Hurk.

Hudson (2-0) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings. The right-hander, who was helped by three double plays, has allowed only two earned runs in three starts and has an ERA of 0.86.

Reds 1, Cubs 0

Kyle Lohse struck out a career-high 12 in eight innings and Jeff Conine hit an RBI single, leading Cincinnati past host Chicago.

Lohse (1-0) allowed four hits and one walk, outpitching Ted Lilly. Ryan Theriot had three hits for the Cubs, but they couldn't muster much else.

Conine singled home the lone run in the fourth.

Chicago wasted another solid outing by Lilly (1-1), who allowed two hits while striking out 10 and walking one in six innings. It was his ninth game with 10 or more strikeouts and his first since June 10 with Toronto.

David Weathers got two outs for his fifth save in five chances.

Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 4

In Phoenix, Tony Clark homered twice and drove in three runs, leading Arizona over Colorado.

It was the 22nd multihomer game for the 34-year-old Clark. Orlando Hudson went 2-for-3 for Arizona for his eighth multihit game this season. He pushed his average to .412.

Todd Helton hit his first home run for the Rockies, a solo shot.

Jose Valverde walked two in the ninth before striking out Jeff Baker for his sixth save in seven chances.

The Diamondbacks jumped on Byung-Hyun Kim (1-2) for four runs in the first inning after the Rockies had scored a pair off Doug Davis (1-1), who allowed four runs, nine hits and four walks in five innings.