Congratulations to Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols who hit his 400th major league homer Thursday against the Nationals.
He's the second person in history to notch 400 homers in a Cardinals uniform, second only to Stan Musial's 475 home runs in a career that spanned from 1941-63.
It's quite the feat, indeed. And here's to hoping he's only half way to the total numbers of dingers he racks up in a St. Louis uniform...
Unfortunately, the occasion was spoiled when Albert's famously inept teammates were able to find a way to let a pitcher in his first start after Tommy John surgery get the best of Chris Carpenter. They played crummy defense, left runs all over the bases and, just when fans wrote them off, they scored a run in the eighth and four in the ninth to take a two-run lead. Only to blow the game in the bottom half of the inning and eventually lose 11-10 in the 13th.
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols watches his 400th career homer fly out of the park Thursday against the Nationals. AP photo.
Carpenter got jobbed by team Achillies heel Felipe Lopez who has graduated from stinking at third base to stinking at shortstop. He made his 12th error of the season in the third to open the flood gates and allow three unearned runs to score. Hoping he made up for it at the plate? Not a chance. He was 0-for-2 to fall to .242 on the season.
The Cardinals ace wasn't good. Carpenter gave up 10 hits and six runs in six innings pitched. But the defense contributed mightily to his demise.
After blowing a 5-3 lead, the Cardinals loaded the bases in the ninth Matt Holliday, who popped up in a similar position against Pittsburgh didn't GET a hit. He WAS hit -- on the hand, to drive in the tying run. Randy Winn, who was 4-for-6 on the night with a run scored and three batted in, singled up the middle to give the birds a two-run lead. But Yadier Molina couldn't drive in an insurance run in with men on first and third and one out. He hit into a double play instead.
That left the game within the ability of Ryan Franklin to blow -- which he did by letting the leadoff man get on with a single off of shortstop Brendan Ryan's outstretched glove and then serving up a home run.
It was all pretty much downhill from there.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Winn
Cardinals Play of the Game: Pujols' historic blast
Lowlight: Franklin's blown save