ST. LOUIS (AP) -- For all his heroics in his first 2-1/2 seasons in
St. Louis, there was one thing Albert Pujols had never done.
Pujols hit his first game-winning homer as a major leaguer, a
two-run shot in the bottom of the 11th inning, to give the
Cardinals a 9-7 win over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night."It might be the first one in my professional career," Pujols
said, including his minor league days. "I've had a walk-off base
hit, but never a home run. It came at the right time."J.D. Drew reached on an infield hit to start the 11th, and
Pujols hit a 1-0 pitch from Matt Herges (2-2) into the left-field
bullpen for his 27th homer.Pujols finished 3-for-5 with four RBI."You hate for him to beat you in that situation," Herges said.
"There's nobody out, I thought I could get him out, and he hit a
1-0 changeup. And he showed how good he is."Drew was 3-for-5 with a homer, and Bo Hart singled twice and
scored twice for the Cardinals. Hart is batting .379 and has 11
multihit games in his first 23 major league starts.St. Louis has won 28 of 32 against the Padres since the start of
the 1999 season.Down 7-6 in the ninth, San Diego tied it when Jason Isringhausen
blew his first save in five chances. Sean Burroughs led off with a
double, advanced on Rondell White's groundout and scored on a
single by Ramon Vazquez."They hit one ball hard," Isringhausen said. "When you give
up a leadoff double, it's kind of hard."Jason Simontacchi (7-4), demoted to the bullpen earlier in the
week, pitched two scoreless innings for the win.Starting pitcher Oliver Perez had two hits and two RBI for the
Padres, who got five hits, three RBI and three runs scored from
the bottom three in the batting order. But Perez couldn't hold a
6-3 lead as the Cardinals rallied for four in the fifth.An RBI single by Pujols, a two-run double by Eduardo Perez and a
run-scoring fielding error by Burroughs gave St. Louis a 7-6 lead.Cardinals starter Garrett Stephenson allowed six runs on nine
hits in five innings, benefiting from uncharacteristic support. The
Cardinals are averaging 4.5 runs in his starts."Today was my day to blow up," Stephenson said. "These guys
came back and won it."The Padres scored in the first on a rare sacrifice fly to second
base. Hart caught Burroughs' flare in shallow center, and Mark
Loretta scored from third. Drew hit his 10th homer and first since
June 16 in the bottom half.The teams again traded runs in the second when Mark Kotsay hit a
run-scoring single and Perez answered with a solo homer.Pujols' third-inning RBI single put the Cardinals ahead 3-2, but
the Padres tied it in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Oliver
Perez.Nady hit an RBI single in the fifth, and another run scored when
third baseman Scott Rolen misplayed a relay for an error. Perez'
single made it 6-3.
Burroughs was 2-for-5 with a sacrifice fly and has reached
base in 16 consecutive games. He's 22-for-59 (.373) during that
stretch. ... Camera day drew a sellout crowd of 48,774. ... Pujols
has 39 multihit games, tying him for the NL lead with teammate
Edgar Renteria. ... Isringhausen's blown save was his first since
Sept. 24, 2002. ... The Padres are 3-7 in extra innings and the
Cardinals are 6-3.