Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

St. Louis leads 1-0 (as of 5/5)

Game 1: Friday, May 5
St. Louis7Final
Florida2
Game 2: Saturday, May 6
St. Louis7Final
Florida6
Game 3: Sunday, May 7
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Florida1

Cardinals 7

(18-12, 6-8 away)

Marlins 2

(8-19, 2-10 home)

7:35 PM ET, May 5, 2006

Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida 

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STL 000070000 7 11 0
FLA 000000011 2 6 3

W: J. Suppan (3-2)

L: S. Mitre (1-4)

Pujols' league-leading 16th helps Cards snap losing skid

MIAMI (AP) -- Some of the lights went out Friday night at Dolphin Stadium, forcing a delay in the fourth inning of the Florida Marlins' game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The power outage didn't last long -- not with Albert Pujols around.

Pujols hit his 16th home run to spark a seven-run fifth inning, and the Cardinals beat Florida 7-2 to snap a four-game losing streak, their longest since the 2004 World Series.

Playing in his team's 30th game, Pujols tied Cy Williams of the 1923 Philadelphia Phillies for the fewest games needed to reach 16 homers.

Imagine Pujols' pace if he was healthy. He sat out Tuesday's game because of a stiff back, and fouled a ball off his left ankle Thursday.

"I feel a little sore," he said. "There are some things I can't do playing defense. Hopefully it's getting better. I've played hurt before. I've just got to play smart and not push it."

Jeff Suppan (3-2) won his third consecutive start, allowing five hits and two runs in 8 1-3 innings. After St. Louis gave him a lead, he retired 10 in a row.

"He was a master," manager Tony La Russa said. "He made so many great pitches."

The Cardinals, who matched a franchise record for April victories with 17, had been winless in May. They snapped an even longer streak: 13 consecutive losses on Cinco de Mayo since winning on May 5, 1992.

"I was unaware of that. Thirteen? Wow," Suppan said, tongue in cheek. "I'm happy to be a part of this."

The game was halted for 18 minutes in the fourth inning when the lights malfunctioned. Unfortunately for the Marlins, power was restored, and they lost their eighth home game in a row.

Sergio Mitre (1-4) shut out the Cardinals for four innings, but retired only one more batter while giving up all seven runs in the fifth.

"A terrible job," said Mitre, who lost his fourth consecutive decision. "One inning will kill you."

David Eckstein walked and John Rodriguez singled to start the fifth, and Pujols hit the first pitch into the right-field stands to break a scoreless tie.

"It's exciting when they have to come in to him," Suppan said. "Watching him is so impressive."

The Marlins unraveled from there. Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen singled, and both advanced on an error by center fielder Reggie Abercrombie. Following a groundout, Gary Bennett hit a two-run single through the drawn-in infield.

Aaron Miles reached on a bunt single, and an errant throw by catcher Matt Treanor put runners at second and third. Suppan singled home a run, prompting boos from the crowd of 13,266, and Eckstein's sacrifice fly put the Cardinals ahead 7-0.

"That inning everyone got involved," La Russa said.

Florida scored in the eighth when Hanley Ramirez tripled and came home on Dan Uggla's groundout. In the ninth, La Russa gave Suppan a shot at his first complete game since 2003, but the right-hander came out after giving up a walk and a single. Alfredo Amezaga drove in a run with a pinch-hit single off John Hancock.

The Cardinals finished with 11 hits. They had totaled only 10 runs in the first four games of the trip, all losses.

Edmonds went 2-for-3 to hike his average to .220. Henry Rodriguez also had two hits in five at-bats, but his average fell to .429.

Pujols went 2-for-3 and is at .326. He set a big league record for homers in April with 14 and still leads the majors.

"You can say he's so hot right now, but he's always like this," Girardi said. "That's who he is."

Actually, Pujols was in a 1-for-12 slump this week before he singled in the third.

Game notes


Before Pujols hit No. 16, the Cardinals' past eight home runs had been solo homers. ... Suppan improved his career record to 97-96. Over the past three starts, he has given up four earned runs in 21 1-3 innings. ... The outing was Suppan's longest since June 24, 2005, when he pitched 8 1-3 innings against Pittsburgh in an 8-1 win.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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