Diamondbacks-Cardinals: Finally, Pujols's True All-Star Performance

Brian McDowellCorrespondent IJuly 18, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 14:  National League All-Star Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals bats during the 2009 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

In the Cardinals' 6-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks yesterday, Albert Pujols offered the kind of  baseball theatrics that were sorely lacking during this appearance at the All-Star game.

The St. Louis superstar smashed two massive solo home runs, and with Chris Carpenter on the mound performing brilliantly, that was all the Redbirds needed to dispose of the dismal Diamondbacks.

Pujols's second home run, in the sixth inning, was hit on a 3-0 count from Arizona starter, Jon Garland. Seemingly, Pujols was about to get walked, which is an entirely proper strategy when down by only one run to the Cardinals in the sixth inning. 

Then, when the crowd of Cardinals fans starting booing Garland, he tried to sneak a strike in, which Pujols quickly deposited in the third deck over left field.

It was one of Albert's finest moments this year, and demonstrated quickly why he is the most intimidating current player in the Major Leagues.

Also contributing offensively to this game were Ryan Ludwick, who drove in two RBIs in the seventh, and  Nick Stavinoah. By hitting the Big Mac Land sign in left field with his pinch hit home run, Stavinoah made a convincing case that he should be playing in left field more often than the terrible Chris Duncan, who predictably went 0 for 3 in this game.

Also, Yadier Molina who, besides having one of the game's finest defensive moments, continues to impress at the plate. Tonight, the newly minted Cardinals All-Star went 4 for 4, scoring a run.

This wasn't a perfect effort by St. Louis. There were key moments early in the game where their bats refused to produce. Nine runners ended up stranded on base. But, in the end, this is the most resounding victory that the Cards have managed to put together in quite a while.

This was due, in large part, to Chris Carpenter, who went eight innings, allowing seven hits, no runs, and only one walk. He made the Arizona offense completely impotent, until he was taken out of the game and replaced by Motte.

Motte allowed Arizona catcher, Miguel Montero, to hit a pretty insignificant home run. Then Motte got through the rest of the inning unscathed.

The Cardinals have two more games against Arizona this weekend. Hopefully they can an impressive statement in those games like they did last night.