The Cardinals did what they had to do Monday night against the Pirates, taking control of the game in the first inning and never letting up.
The Birds put up four in the initial frame, powered by Albert Pujols' 399th career homer, en route to a 10-2 win. In the bottom of the inning Kyle Lohse started off shakily, threatening to let the Pirates cut into the deficit. But he found his way out of trouble time and time again and ended up pitching 5 1/3 innings with six hits and two runs allowed to get his second decision of the season.
Pujols and Catcher Yadier Molina each had three hits to pace the St. Louis attack that totalled 14 safeties. Outfielders Matt Holliday and Jon Jay each had a pair of hits.
Albert Pujols connects for a three-run homer in the first inning Monday against the Pirates. AP photo.
Staked to a big lead in the ninth, manager Tony La Russa decided to get creative. He let reserve catcher Bryan Anderson pinch hit for Pujols -- earning a chorus of boos from the Pittsburgh fans. Then he moved Yadier Molina to first base and -- after saying it was unfair to Allen Craig to ask him to play third base when he was used to playing in the outfield -- La Russa played him at second base in the bottom of the ninth.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Pujols scored two runs and drove in three more with a double, a homer and a single.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Pujols' 399th homer in the first.
Lowlight: Felipe Lopez still isn't hitting -- he was 0-for-2 -- but he drew a couple of walks and had a nice night at shortstop.