PITTSBURGH, Pa. (AP) — Albert Pujols hit his 40th and 41st home runs and Matt Holliday reached the 100-RBI mark, leading the slumping St. Louis Cardinals to a 9-2 victory Thursday over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the 13th time in 38 games since Aug. 14, the last day they were in first place in the NL Central.
St. Louis’ chances of defending its division title remain slim. The Cardinals trail idle Cincinnati by 7½ games with only 10 games left.
Pittsburgh had its season-high five-game winning streak come to an end. The Pirates are one defeat short of their first 100-loss season since 2001.
Pujols got three hits, drove in three runs and scored three times. Cardinals rookie Daniel Descalso had four hits, including a double, in his second major league start. Holliday and Nick Stavinoha each had two of the Cardinals’ 15 hits.
Jeff Suppan (2-7) won for just the second time in 13 starts this season, allowing one run and four hits in five innings. Both of Suppan’s victories have come against the Pirates and he is 16-3 against them in his career, including winning his last nine decisions.
Brian Burres (3-4) was tagged for four runs and six hits in 2 1-3 innings. He had been 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts since moving from the bullpen into the rotation to replace injured Jeff Karstens.
Pujols hit a two-run homer into the left-field bleachers in a four-run third inning. It was the sixth time in Pujols’ 10 seasons that he has reached 40 homers.
Holliday, Stavinoha and Descalso followed with consecutive doubles to produce two runs and chase Burres.
Holiday drove in his 100th run with a single in the fourth, then Pujols scored on a wild pitch by Chan Ho Park to make it 6-0. Holliday has had three 100-RBI seasons in his seven-year career.
Skip Schumaker hit an RBI single in the fifth. The Pirates got their lone run off Suppan in the bottom half when Pedro Alvarez doubled off the right-center field fence.
Pujols led off the sixth with an opposite-field shot to right. He has 39 career multihomer games, six of them this season.
Andrew McCutchen hit a sacrifice fly for Pittsburgh in the seventh. Neil Walker and Ronny Cedeno both had two hits for the Pirates.
Notes: Pirates 1B Jeff Clement had left knee surgery in Vail, Colo., and is expected to be ready for the beginning of spring training. … Pittsburgh fell to 38-40 at PNC Park — they are 15-59 on the road — and need to sweep a three-game series against Houston that begins Friday night to finish with a winning home record.
Copyright Associated Press