ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matt Cain absorbed the worst beating of his career from the same team he held hitless for six innings last weekend.
Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer to cap a six-run fourth inning, Skip Schumaker and Chris Duncan each had two hits and two RBIs with a walk in their first three at-bats, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 11-1 on Friday night."Sometimes you're going to have those nights," Pujols said. "When you have a guy with such good stuff as Cain, you can't make him feel too comfortable out there. We wanted to make sure we got the jump."St. Louis reached a season best for runs and extra-base hits (6) while tying its high with 13 hits, also against the Giants a week ago, in a game that began in 53-degree chill. Cain said as the rout progressed he just wanted to get the day over."It's just one start," Cain said. "You can't let that kill you for the rest of the year. I just wasn't able to put balls where I wanted to, and it cost me a ton."The 23-year-old Cain (0-2), whose 3.65 ERA was 10th in the National League last year, allowed a personal-high nine runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. The outing, which included Duncan's two-run homer in the third, surpassed the eight runs he allowed the Cubs in 5 1/3 innings on May 10, 2006.Todd Wellemeyer (2-0) matched his career high with seven strong innings for the Cardinals, who have won five of seven and are 8-2 at home, scoring first in every game. Their current run includes Cain's previous start, when they rallied from a five-run deficit to win 8-7 in 10 innings at San Francisco last Saturday.Fred Lewis had an RBI single in the third, a comebacker that deflected off Wellemeyer's posterior when he turned after the pitch. The Giants have lost five of seven and are 1-6 on the road, and the NL's worst offense mustered two or fewer runs for the ninth time in 17 games.Duncan's second homer made it 3-1 and the Cardinals had 12 at-bats in the six-run fourth, their biggest inning of the year. Pujols' fourth homer reached the third deck in left field, a drive estimated at 424 feet, for an 8-1 cushion, while Schumaker had a two-run single and Adam Kennedy added an RBI double off Erick Threets.Pujols is 15-for-39 (.385) with four homers during a 10-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in all 17 games. He added a fourth RBI on a groundout in the first."That's part of his amazingness, just how locked in he is every game he plays," manager Tony La Russa said. "That at-bat against Cain, that really wasn't a bad pitch and he got to it. That's Hall of Fame stuff."Cain claimed an assist on Pujols' homer, saying, "It was up and in and it was supposed to be away."Wellemeyer faced the Giants for the second straight start and allowed one run on four hits with six strikeouts and two walks. He tired at San Francisco last Saturday after giving up only one hit the first five innings, surrendering four runs in the sixth."Staying focused is the big thing," Wellemeyer said. "Don't think too far ahead, and every inning is a new inning."John Bowker, the first player in Giants history to homer in his first two career games and the first in 52 years with three opening multihit efforts, was 0-for-3 with a walk. Bowker was 4-for-6 with two homers and seven RBIs last weekend against the Cardinals in San Francisco.
Bowker got his first career start at first base, a position he's unfamiliar with, in an attempt to get more offense in the Giants' lineup. Manager Bruce Bochy said Rich Aurilia would start there on Saturday. ... Cardinals RHP Russ Springer (elbow) is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Saturday and could be activated early next week. ... Schumaker is 17-for-38 (.447) the last 11 games with 14 runs. ... Wellemeyer also worked seven innings on April 7 at Houston. ... Lewis is 13-for-30 (.433) during an eight-game hitting streak.