Cardinals-Braves: Pujols Blasts His Way Past the Braves

Derek CoffeltSenior Analyst IJuly 29, 2008

The tide seems to be turning for the Cardinals, who have now won three of their last four games after dropping five straight that included a sweep by the Brewers.

Albert Pujols once again led the way for the Redbirds, as St. Louis defeated Atlanta 8-3 on Tuesday night.

He cranked a solo home run to tie it in the sixth inning and eventually single-handedly took over the game.

Characteristic of a leader, Pujols led by example during the game. During the eighth inning, "El Hombre" led off with a double. After a Ryan Ludwick line out, Pujols attempted to steal third base and was nearly thrown out if not for the off-target throw from Braves catcher Corky Miller.

Miller's throw soared into right field and Pujols ended up scoring the go-ahead run. His aggressive baserunning has been "all or nothing" during the season, as he has been caught several times over-running the base paths. However, this time he caught a break and put St. Louis ahead.

They did not look back.

Yadier Molina and Brendan Ryan added multi-hit games of their own, batting a combined 5-for-10 with two runs scored and three RBI.

Ryan Franklin pitched effectively in his first relief appearance since being demoted to the set-up role, but was bailed out by his defense. Several Braves players hit rockets that ended up right in the gloves of Cards defenders.

The good news is that Franklin pitched two shutout innings despite walking two batters. As a Cardinals faithful, I'm just glad he didn't blow the game.

The Redbirds starter, Todd Wellemeyer, kept the game at arm's length. In one of his best starts of the month, he allowed two runs on eight hits while throwing six innings, coupled with five strikeouts and one walk.

It may not have been a dominating performance, but the encouraging signs were there. Wellemeyer had not struck out more than three batters in a game since his elbow injury on June 5.

With Wellemeyer seemingly getting his confidence back, it seems the Cardinals might be able to keep him as their No. 4 starter. With Chris Carpenter pitching tomorrow night and Adam Wainwright returning in only a matter of weeks, the rotation is looking more solid every day.

Add to the mix a solid outing by the bullpen, the pitching woes of the Cardinals might finally be a thing of the past.