Cardinals-Mets: Pujols Helps Complete Sweep with the Long Ball

Derek CoffeltSenior Analyst IApril 23, 2009

It wasn't anything we didn't know already. Albert Pujols is one of the best hitters in the majors.

I may go out on a "limb" and say he's the best hitter.

Prove me wrong.

El Hombre's quest for another ring led the Cardinals past the Mets in a 12-8 slugfest on Thursday afternoon. The victory completed the sweep of New York as the big bats once again refused to be silenced.

Pujols hit a solo homer in the first inning to get the Cardinals on the board. He singled and stole a base in the fourth, igniting a three-run rally that gave the Cardinals the lead for good. He added a two-run shot in the fifth as the Cardinals turned the game into a blowout.

He finished the day going 3-for-4 with three RBI combined with four runs scored. Pujols also added a walk to boot.

The big man is, quite frankly, just a terror to face at the plate. If Pujols doesn't nail the pitcher on the mound in the face (sorry, Chris Young), he'll hit the ball to all fields. He's once again hitting in the middle of the .300 AVG range, his natural stomping ground.

If he keeps up this torrid pace, he'll be shining up his third MVP trophy come next year.

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The Redbird's outfield provided most of the other offense. Colby Rasmus, Rick Ankiel, and Ryan Ludwick went for a combined 7-for-14 with five RBI, four runs scored, and a walk.

Outfielder turned second baseman Skip Schumaker showed signs of settling into his new position, and he did not commit an error while stepping it up on the offensive end. He went 2-for-5 with two RBI.

Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse wasn't overpowering by any means, but he got the job done pitching five innings while managing to give up only one run on eight hits.

Not exactly what I wanted to see from Lohse, but as long as the "W" is there, I'll take it.

The only concern for me was the game newcomer P.J. Walters turned in. Barely lasting just over two innings of work, he allowed five earned on five hits that included two home runs from Mets outfielders Ryan Church and Carlos Beltran.

Walters, called up after the Chris Carpenter injury, pitched an "interesting" game in his first outing. Giving up three earned on six hits, he impressed some by also striking out seven.

Maybe he just needs to make more starts instead of relief appearances, but hopefully this will be a hard learning experience for the young pitcher.

With the sweep, St. Louis improved to 11-5. It's their best 16-game start under current manager Tony La Russa. Certainly some cause for celebration as the only other better start to the season the Redbirds had was going 13-3 in 1982.

Coincidentally, they won the championship that year.

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