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Cardinals set club record for April wins with 17th

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Hitting behind Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds knows
he's in a good spot.

The Washington Nationals walked Pujols four times, and Edmonds
made them pay by driving in three runs in a 9-2 victory Sunday that
completed the St. Louis Cardinals' record-setting April.

Edmonds, hitting .213 after going 2-for-5, expects to get more
chances as teams pitch around Pujols.

"Eventually you have to come through," he said. "If they want
to walk Albert all year long, I'll be happy to hit behind him."

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa doesn't fault the strategy of
walking Pujols.

"They're going to make someone else beat them and today, they
did," he said.

Although Edmonds has not been hitting for average, he has made
the most of his RBI chances -- he drove in 19 runs in the first
month of the season.

"I haven't done anything different today than I did the other
day," he said. "Some times you get hits, and some times you
don't."

St. Louis finished April 17-8, topping the previous franchise
mark for April wins, set with a 15-7 record last year.

Tied with the Reds for the NL Central leading heading into a
two-game series that starts Monday in Cincinnati, the Cardinals
were 8-2 on their winningest 10-game homestand since taking eight
of 10 from Sept. 20-29, 2002.

"We've really played good baseball," La Russa said. "But I've
never got the feeling we were a really hot baseball club. We've
just competed really well and swung some games our way."

Jeff Suppan (2-2) held Washington to two runs in six innings.
Suppan gave up five hits, struck out three and walked two. Adam
Wainwright and Brad Thompson completed a six-hitter.

"With how our offense was running, I was just going out there
trying to put up as many zeros as I could and minimize the
damage," Suppan said.

So Taguchi, who came off the bench, also drove in three runs.

Pujols went 0-for-1 with the four walks, one of them
intentional. He set a major league record with 14 homers in April
and tied the Cardinals' record for April RBI, set by Mark McGwire
with 32 in 1998.

Zach Day (1-3) lost in his first start since rejoining
Washington, allowing four runs and six hits in five innings. The
Nationals traded Day to Colorado last season and claimed him last
week after the Rockies designated him for assignment.

The Nationals have lost eight of nine overall and dropped to 2-9
against the NL Central.

"We're having a tough time," Alfonso Soriano said. "Tomorrow,
we start with May, so I hope we played our one bad month and
tomorrow we'll have good news."

Washington manager Frank Robinson was fairly pleased by Day's
performance.

"I liked what I saw today," he said. "It was encouraging."

Juan Encarnacion homered for the Cardinals. Taguchi matched his
RBI high, set last Aug. 16 against Arizona.

Ryan Zimmerman hit a second-inning homer for Washington and
scored on Brian Schneider's fourth-inning single.

Encarnacion's homer tied the score in the second, and John
Rodriguez's RBI single for St. Louis made it 2-2 in the fifth.
Following an intentional walk to Pujols that loaded the bases,
Edmonds singled up the middle on the next pitch to drive in two
runs and put the Cardinals ahead 4-2.

Taguchi pinch hit in the sixth and hit a two-run single off Joey
Eischen. Taguchi added a sacrifice fly in the eighth against Felix
Rodriguez, who also gave up an RBI single to Edmonds and a
run-scoring double to Scott Spiezio.

Game notes
The Expos/Nationals have not won a series in St. Louis
since taking two of three from Aug. 6-8, 2002. ... St. Louis 3B
Scott Rolen missed his sixth straight game due to an upper
respiratory illness. He will not travel with the team to Cincinnati
but may travel to Houston on Wednesday... Yadier Molina, who went
3-for-29 on the homestand and hitless in his last 12 at-bats, was
given the day off. ... Sunday's attendance was 39,383, giving the
Cardinals 16 straight sellouts to start the season.