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April 15: Cardinals 11, Dodgers 2

I guess Albert Pujols got sick and tired of watching Lance Berkman steal his limelight.

Berkman launched two more homers Friday night to become the first Cardinals hitter to put six over the boards in a week since Mark McGwire accomplished the feat in 1998. So Pujols, showing signs recently of breaking out of his prolonged slump, hit two homers of his own to help the Birds to an 11-2 win over the Dodgers.

The victory was the Redbirds' 1,000th over the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Franchise. The Dodgers have won 998 of the 1,998 matches the teams have played.

The Cardinals grabbed a three run lead in the second inning and never relented, helping starting pitcher Kyle Lohse to his second victory of the season. But it wasn't easy for Lohse who, even when he was getting outs early, was recording them with an unusual number of fly balls. And many of them were hard hit.

Lohse seemed in danger of getting knocked out in the fourth inning when he allowed three of the first four batters to reach base. He surrendered two runs and had two on base when he wiggled off the hook. But after that he settled down and pitched much better over the second half of his outing than he did over the first half. Lohse noticed that the home plate umpire was giving him credit for strikes for balls off the outside corrner to righty batters. So he exploited the opportunity and it helped the Cardinals righty rack up six punchouts.

The effort was much needed because the Birds starters haven't been going deep into games lately. With the bullpen already roughed up due to injuries, it was important for Lohse to get as many outs as he could.

In addition to Berkman and Pujols' exploits, Yadier Molina collected four hits and a walk. Colby Rasmus and David Freese were each 3-for-5 at the dish and Matt Holliday was 2-for-5. Skip Schumaker was the only Cardinals starter not to get at least one base hit. A week ago Rasmus was the only guy in the starting lineup with a .300 or better batting average. Suddenly five St. Louis starters have an average of .304 or better.

While the Cardinals looked disturbingly like the lackluster 2010 version of the team the first week and a half of the season, they've been a run scoring machine since. One of the most fun parts of watching this club play since Matt Holliday came back last Sunday is that they seem to have forgotten how to rest on their laurels when they get a lead. They keep pouring it on until the last out is made.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Berkman.

Cardinals Play of the Game: Lohse's strikeout of Rod Barajas to end the threat in the fourth inning.

Lowlight: Schumaker's hitless night ended his five-game hitting streak.

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