The Cardinals watched their leading hitter be helped off the field with what was diagnosed as a strained left calf in the seventh inning of their 7-2 victory Tuesday night over the Cincinnati Reds. For Pujols, a trip to the disabled list appears to be a formality.
"It's pretty hard to enjoy the win when something like this happens, but you've got to deal with it," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.
Pujols, a six-time All-Star and 2005 National League Most Valuable Player, was carted out of the clubhouse and was being flown back to St. Louis for more tests on Wednesday, general manager John Mozeliak said after the game.
"Based on what I saw -- and I'm not a doctor -- it was pretty bad," Mozeliak said.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the club called up Chris Duncan less than two weeks after he was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.
Ryan Ludwick homered and drove in four runs to lead the Cardinals' 11-hit effort.
Pujols and Rick Ankiel gave the Cardinals their first set of back-to-back home runs this season before Pujols was helped off the field with the injury he suffered while running out a ground ball.
Ludwick also doubled twice and singled in support of rookie right-hander Mitchell Boggs, who made his first major league start and second appearance.
"How does it affect things?" Ludwick said of Pujols' injury. "He's one of the best hitters of all-time. He's the motor that makes the engine run. It's huge. We just have to dig deep and try to find a way to put runs on the board."
Reds right fielder Ken Griffey Jr. went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first home game since hitting his 600th career home run Monday in Florida. He stepped out of the dugout and waved his batting helmet to acknowledge a standing ovation after his milestone home run was replayed on the video screen and a "Griffey Jr. 600" home run sign was unveiled in right-center field.
Boggs (1-0) allowed four hits and two runs with three walks over five innings.
"He had a lot of movement," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You could tell by the way [catcher Yadier Molina] was catching the ball that he had a lot of movement."
The Cardinals scored four runs with two outs in the third inning against Reds starter Homer Bailey. Brendan Ryan scored from second base on Ludwick's first double. Pujols followed with his 16th homer of the season and Ankiel, who missed the previous five games with a right knee infection, added his ninth.
The Cardinals were sitting on Bailey's fastball, Baker said.
"After the first go-around, they could tell he didn't have the feel of his breaking ball," Baker said. "After that, they were spitting on his breaking ball and waiting for his fastball."
"Every game, you're going to have one pitch that's off," said Bailey, the Reds' No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft. "You've got to learn to deal with that. I had a few mental lapses with two outs, and that's where they capitalized."
Ludwick doubled again in the fourth inning to drive in Ryan from second base and give the Cardinals a 5-0 lead. Reds rookie Joey Votto cut that lead to 5-2 with his 11th homer of the season -- a two-run shot to center field in the fourth -- but Ludwick led off the seventh with his 15th homer of the season, a new career high.
Bailey (0-2) was roughed up for five runs -- all with two outs -- and eight hits in his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Louisville on Thursday. He walked three and struck out two in 3 2/3 innings. The Reds have lost four of their last five games.
Ludwick added his fourth RBI by driving in Ryan from third base with a bloop single to right field in the ninth.
The Reds placed utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. on the 15-day disabled list because of a broken thumb and sent right-hander Gary Majewski to the bereavement list so he could be with his wife, who was delivering their first child. The team selected the contract of utilityman Jolbert Cabrera and recalled rookie left-hander Danny Herrera from Triple-A Louisville. ... All-time career hits leader Pete Rose received a standing ovation after he was shown sitting in field-level seats behind the plate in the middle of the third inning. ... Right-hander Joel Pineiro, disabled since May 21 with a right groin strain, threw in the St. Louis bullpen before the game and will start Thursday against Cincinnati, La Russa said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.