Cheap Seats

Cardinals at Royals, June 21

It fits that on fathers day Albert Pujols again showed his hometown Royals who's their daddy.

In a game that started off on a frustrating note, the Cardinals squandered chances to score more than the two runs they tallied in the first inning. Then they couldn't wiggle off the hook in the Royals half of the inning and gave it all back.

But, with the game tied at four, the bases loaded and the best hitter in baseball at the game with a full count... well, it doesn't get any more pressure packed than that. And Pujols showed why he is the best money player in baseball by launching horsehide wrecking ball at the newly constructed Royals Hall of Fame in left field. The game was over, for all practical purposes. But he wasn't done. Pujols launched a second shot later in the game to lead the Cardinals to a 12-5 win, manager Tony La Russa's 2,500th of his career.

In total, Pujols drove in six runs and scored two more in a 4-for-5 day in which he stranded no runners on base and wasn't walked a single time.

A lot of second guessers are howling that the Royals should have walked Pujols -- despite the fact that the bases were loaded and the score was tied. But how can you do something like that when it not only surrenders the lead, but gives the other team a chance to extend things with a sacrifice fly or bust things wide open with a base hit?

The only lesson I see in this whole mix is what the Cardinals could expect from Pujols on a consistent basis if he were able to see a few more pitches in the strike zone. Four times Pujols has batted this season with the bases loaded, forcing the opposing hurler to pitch to him. Three times he has hit a moon shot.

Skip Schumaker, Rick Ankiel and Chris Duncan joined the hit parade, chipping in two base knocks apiece as the Cardinals once anemic offense is once again hitting on all cylinders. And Khalil Greene whacked his third homer in as many games as the Cardinals new third baseman. Unfortunately, he had to leave the game prematurely for the second time in three games when he was hit on the leg with a pitch. Hopefully he won't miss any time.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Need I even type out the letters P-U-J-O-L-S?

Lowlight: Joe Thurston wore the collar again as his average slipped to .226. But, on the bright side, I hear Memphis can be lovely at this time of year.