- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 12, 2009

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Albert Pujols hit a grand slam and a three-run homer to match a career high with seven RBIs, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to an 11-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday.

It was Pujols’ 24th multihomer game and first since Aug. 16, 2008, against Cincinnati. He matched his career best for RBIs set Aug. 22, 2006, against the New York Mets.

The All-Star first baseman went 2-for-4 and is batting .429 with three homers and nine RBIs in the team’s first six games.

Rick Ankiel and Joe Thurston had three hits apiece for the Cardinals, who finished with 19 hits overall. Adam Wainwright (1-0) pitched five shutout innings.

Roy Oswalt (0-2) had a rare bad outing at Busch Stadium, allowing six runs and nine hits in six innings for the Astros. He had a 1.83 ERA in five previous starts at the new Busch.

St. Louis scored five times in the fifth inning to take a 6-0 lead. Pinch-hitter David Freese doubled in a run before Skip Schumaker walked and Colby Rasmus singled to load the bases for Pujols, who hit Oswalt’s first pitch over the wall in left.

The Cardinals added four more against Wesley Wright in the seventh, including Pujols’ three-run shot to left.

Wainwright allowed four hits, walked three and struck out four to improve to 6-0 in 13 games against Houston.

Notes:@ Astros pitcher Doug Brocail was scheduled to return to Houston on Saturday to be examined by Dr. David Lintner after experiencing discomfort in his right shoulder while pitching Friday. … St. Louis reliever Jason Motte pitched a scoreless 6th inning and lowered his ERA from 27.00 to 15.43. … Wandy Rodriguez, scheduled to start for Houston on Sunday, had a 1.11 ERA against St. Louis in 2008. … Schumaker, who hit .168 against lefties last season (20-for-119), is 4-for-6 against southpaws thus far. … Houston’s Kaz Matsui, who led off the game with a single, has hit safely in all five games.

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