Pujols homered for the fifth time in four games and tied his
career high with five RBI in a 10-5 victory over the Cincinnati
Reds on Monday night. He has plantar fasciitis in his left heel, an
injury more commonly associated with long distance running.
"It's bothering me, but when I'm out there and I cross that
white line I'm ready to play," Pujols said. "I don't care what
kind of injury I have. If I have to push it, I'm going to push it
because that's the way I am."
Pujols, 9-for-18 with 11 RBI in the last four games for the
Cardinals, also scored his NL-leading 100th and 101st runs. He has
scored 100 or more runs in each of his first four major league
Pujols hit a two-run double in the first, doubled and scored on
a close play in the seventh, and hit a three-run homer off John
Riedling in the eighth. It's the second five-RBI game of the year
and fifth of his career for Pujols, who also did it July 20 at
Pujols met reporters after the game with his heel wrapped in
"He is hurt, but he's a gamer," manager Tony La Russa said.
"He runs through the pain. When he doesn't have to run you see him
Scott Rolen drove in two runs for the Cardinals, giving him a
National League-leading 104 RBI. He had a run-scoring double in
the third and an RBI single in the seventh, and has 24 RBI in his
last 26 games.
The Cardinals have won 16 of 20 and lead the NL Central by 14
games, their biggest advantage since they were 14 games in front on
Sept. 3, 1968, when they won a pennant. La Russa doesn't want to
hear it, though, guarding against a collapse.
"I don't read that part of the notes," La Russa said. "I read
the other parts that somebody sent me that talk about the '64
Phillies and the '78 Yankees and the '95 Angels and on and on and
Pujols got the Cardinals started with a two-run double in the
first off Aaron Harang (7-5). After a lead once as large as four
runs was shaved to one in a two-run seventh, he keyed a two-run
rally in the bottom of the seventh with a two-out double off the
center-field wall against Todd Van Poppel.
Harang said there's no particular way to pitch Pujols.
"You just pray he rolls over something or gets underneath it
and pops it up," Harang said. "That's all you can do with him."
Rolen followed with a run-scoring single and went to second on a
throw to the plate, and scored on Edgar Renteria's bloop hit to
right center to make it 6-3.
John Mabry added a sacrifice fly in a four-run eighth against
The Cardinals are 12-2 against the Reds, including a pair of
three-game sweeps. It's the Reds' worst showing against a team
since they were 1-11 against the Padres in 1998.
"They've got everybody's number. Are you kidding me?" Harang
said. "It's just a good all-around team. They've got veteran guys
that know how to play and they come to play every day."
Jeff Suppan (11-6) blanked the Reds until Sean Casey hit his
19th homer with two outs in the sixth. That ended a 14-inning
scoreless for the right-hander, who allowed two hits in eight
shutout innings at Florida in his last start on Aug. 11.
The Reds chased Suppan with one out in the seventh on a single
by Jason La Rue and a walk by Felipe Lopez. Pinch-hitter Juan
Castro followed with a two-run triple off Ray King to cut the gap
to 4-3, but King recovered to get the final two outs and preserve
Harang lasted five innings, giving up four runs -- three earned --
on six hits.
After Rolen's RBI double in the third, he scored on Lopez's
two-out throwing error from short on Renteria's grounder to make it
The Reds are 22-40 since June 6, when they led the NL Central by
two games. They're 21½ games back, their largest deficit of the
Reds SS Barry Larkin (oblique) missed his fourth straight
start. ... Suppan was 0-for-2 with a sacrifice and is 0-for-46 at
the plate since his last hit on July 28, 2003. That hit came off
Brett Tomko in St. Louis when Suppan played for the Pirates. ...
Suppan is 0-for-41 this year, and Harang is only slightly better at
the plate, going 1-for-41. ... Cardinals starters are a major
league-best 57-29. Last year, the rotation combined for 42