The Cardinals won their third straight game and Albert Pujols extended his hitting streak with a 7-1 decision over the Diamondbacks in Phoenix Tuesday night.
Pujols didn’t waste any time running the streak to 17 games with an RBI double in the first inning. The base hit came after Jim Edmonds was hit by a pitch from Arizona starter Shawn Estes. Pujols later scored on a Reggie Sanders grounder to third and the Cardinals were up 2-0. Pujols finished 3-for-4 with two RBI’s and three runs-scored.
Cardinals’ starting pitcher Jeff Suppan allowed just one run in 5 1/3 innings of work. That tally came in the third inning when Craig Counsell drove in Estes with a sacrifice fly.
The Cardinals responded with a three-run rally in the top of the fourth inning. Sanders and Scott Rolen both drove in runs with doubles and So Taguchi hit an RBI single.
In the seventh and eighth innings, So Taguchi and Pujols hit solo home runs. Taguchi hit his fifth, while Pujols hit his 22nd, which is third-best in the National League. He’s in second place in RBI’s with 69 and his .346 batting average is also second-best in the N.L.
Suppan (8-7) got into a jam in the sixth inning, putting runners on first and third, but Al Reyes got former Cardinals shortstop Royce Clayton to ground into a double play to end the inning. Suppan got the win. A total of five pitchers finished out the final 3 2/3 innings for St. Louis. Jason Isringhausen put Arizona down in order in the ninth inning.
With the win, the Cardinals extended their lead to 12 ½ games over the Cubs and Astros in the N.L. Central. St. Louis is the only team in the division with a winning record. Chicago and Houston are both 40-42 on the season. The Cardinals are 53-30.