It’s not really fair but neither is life. The Cardinals are playing without Albert Pujols and the results are showing his true value. St. Louis has lost three out of four without Pujols and five out of six overall. The two teams have exchanged control of the National League Central all year and now share the lead at the top.
The Reds are taking full advantage of the Cardinals struggles. Their latest win completed a three-game sweep of the Redbirds at Busch Stadium. St. Louis only lost one series at the new stadium this year but had never been swept.
Cincinnati third baseman Rich Aurilia repeated a career night with four hits and five RBIs.
Cardinals starter Sidney Ponson suffered his first loss of the season. His once unbeaten record is a bit misleading. Ponson has pitched well but only into the seventh inning once. Against the Reds, he lasted just 5 1/3 innings giving way to a bullpen that has also struggled in June. The starter allowed five runs on eight hits striking out four and issuing five free passes. Tyler Johnson came in for Ponson in the sixth giving up two runs before he got two outs. Adam Wainright and Braden Looper combined to hold the Reds scoreless over the next three innings, but it was too late.
Aaron Harang lasted just about as long as Ponson to earn the win. In 5 2/3 innings, Harang surrendered three runs on eight hits and striking out three. He became the first visiting pitcher to win twice at the new stadium.