Cardinals-Cubs: Pujols and Ludwick Set Chicago on Fire

Brian McDowellCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 31:  Ryan Ludwick #47 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on May 31, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Despite their many problems, all seems well in Cardinal Nation. After a brief rain delay at Wrigley Field, the bats of Ryan Ludwick and Albert Pujols powered the Redbirds to their second win in a row, trouncing the collapsing Chicago Cubs 8-3.

Chris Carpenter pitched a decent six innings, only screwing up in the third inning when he gave up a three-run homer to Derrek Lee. This was the only meaningful offense that the Cubs could manage to put together in the whole game.

The rest of their efforts to catch the surging St. Louis offense all fell flat. For once, St. Louis's middle relievers completely protected the Cardinals' lead without giving up any runs or screwing anything up.

Despite the fact that they stranded ten runners, the Cardinals' offense sparkled. Ryan Ludwick hit four RBI, and finally seems to be back to his old self again. With his performance this week, he has fully earned his role of hitting clean-up for this team.

Pujols also continued his quest for the greatest offensive year in baseball history by driving in two RBI, including a solo home run. Yadier Molina, who has been hitting well all month, was the only other Cardinal batter that drove in a run today, but, of course, that was all this team needed to march on to victory against their division rivals.

The St. Louis Cardinals are riding high with a two and a half game lead in the Central Division as of now. They play three more games against the Cubs, including a double header on Sunday, before the All Star break.

If those games go as smoothly as this one did, the Cardinals will be statistically sitting pretty by the All-Star break.