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Pujols hits home run No. 21 as Cards beat Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Albert Pujols had never faced Kansas
City reliever Ambiorix Burgos before Saturday night. It didn't
affect the Cardinals slugger.

Pujols hit a three-run homer off Burgos in the eighth inning to
help St. Louis beat the Royals 4-2 Saturday night.

Pujols, who attended Fort Osage High School just a few miles
from Kauffman Stadium, leads the majors with 21 home runs and 53
RBI. Pujols hit the first pitch from Burgos over the center-field
fence after David Eckstein walked and Scott Spiezio singled.

"He's amazing," Eckstein said. "He shows up every single day
wanting to win bad. It just seems like when it is on him and to
keep the momentum on our side, when we need a big hit he comes out
and delivers."

Pujols, who hit a two-run homer on Friday in St. Louis' 9-6
victory, entered the series in an 0-for-12 skid. He has homered in
back-to-back games seven times this season. He simplified his
approach against Burgos.

"See the ball, hit it," Pujols said. "I was not trying to do
too much. I got a pretty good pitch to hit and put my best swing
the whole night. Our kid (Anthony Reyes) pitched an outstanding
game and deserved to win. We got the win and that's the most
important thing."

The Cardinals continued their dominance of their cross-state
rivals, winning for the ninth time in the past 10 meetings. Kansas
City has lost eight straight and dropped to 10-30, the worst record
in franchise history after 40 games.

Reyes (1-0), just promoted from Triple-A Memphis and making his
second major league start, held the Royals to four singles over 5
2-3 scoreless innings to earn the win. He walked one and struck out
one.

"He moved the ball all over the zone and used four pitches,"
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "He pitched to both sides of
the plate and had command. He hit the catcher's glove most of the
time. That was impressive."

But not impressive enough to keep him in the majors. It was only
a spot start because of an injury to Sidney Ponson and La Russa
said Reyes would be returning to the minors.

Reyes, a 24-year-old right-hander who was a 15th-round draft
pick in 2003 out of Southern California, made his major league
debut last Aug. 9 and beat Milwaukee.

"I try to take advantage of every opportunity that I get to
pitch up here," Reyes said. "I come up the mind-set not to give
them a reason to send me down. I had pretty much everything
working. I was able to get ahead in the count."

Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his 14th save in 16
opportunities.

Denny Bautista (0-2), making his third start since coming off
the disabled list with a strained pectoral muscle, gave up just one
run and five hits in six innings. He struck out three, walked none
and hit a batter, throwing 61 of his 100 pitches for strikes.

"That is a positive," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "He was
around the plate with most of his pitches"

Scott Rolen led off the St. Louis fourth with a single to
center. He stole second, advanced to third on catcher John Buck's
throwing error, and scored on Juan Encarnacion's double.

The Royals scored two runs in the eighth to break a 13-inning
scoreless drought. Andres Blanco led off the inning with a bunt
single and stopped at second on Esteban German's pinch-hit single.
Mark Grudzielanek singled off left-hander Randy Flores to score
Blanco.

Reggie Sanders doubled to left to drive in German, but shortstop
Eckstein threw out Grudzielanek, who ran past third base coach Luis
Silverio's stop sign, at the plate.

"By the time I saw it, I was already running," Grudzielanek
said. "I probably would have broke a leg trying to stop. There was
no way chance of stopping. I was trying to be aggressive and get
some runs across."

Said Bell: "We made some mistakes. You can't make mistakes
against this club and get away with it."

Game notes
Royals SS Angel Berroa, who has struck out 29 times while
drawing only one walk and has eight extra-base hits in 143 at-bats,
did not start for the first time this season. Blanco, who was
called up Friday from Triple-A Omaha, started instead. ... Rolen
was hit by pitches in back-to-back plate appearances. RHP Mike Wood
hit Rolen in the ninth inning Friday, and Rolen was plunked leading
off the second inning Saturday by Bautista. ... The Cardinals
optioned RHP Brian Falkenborg to Memphis to make room for Reyes.
... The game was the Royals' second sellout of the season with a
crowd of 40,516. Only the opening day attendance of 41,054 was
larger.