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Pujols drives Cardinals to win

Saturday, April 11, 2009

By The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols hit a grand slam and a three-run homer to match a career high with seven RBIs, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to an 11-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday.

It was Pujols' 24th multihomer game and first since Aug. 16, 2008, against Cincinnati. He matched his career best for RBIs set Aug. 22, 2006, against the New York Mets.

The All-Star first baseman went 2-for-4 and is batting .429 with three homers and nine RBIs in the team's first six games.

Rick Ankiel and Joe Thurston had three hits apiece for the Cardinals, who finished with 19 hits overall. Adam Wainright (1-0) pitched five shutout innings.

Roy Oswalt (0-2) had a rare bad outing at Busch Stadium, allowing six runs and nine hits in six innings for the Astros.

Mets 8, Marlins 4

MIAMI (AP) -- Livan Hernandez used his offspeed stuff to take a shutout into the seventh inning and help the Mets hand the Marlins their first loss.

Florida had been the last undefeated team in the majors, but Hernandez tamed an offense that batted .309 and scored 31 runs as the Marlins won their first four games. Meanwhile, Ricky Nolasco (1-1) endured the poorest outing so far by a Florida starter, allowing four runs in five innings.

New York's Jose Reyes had his first three RBIs of the season, including a two-run homer. Luis Castillo went 4-for-4, hiking his average from .100 to .357. Carlos Delgado finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs for the Mets, who totaled 15 hits.

Hernandez (1-0) worked 6 2-3 innings, giving up only six hits and two runs in the longest outing so far by a Mets starter.

Pirates 10, Reds 2

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Paul Maholm allowed only three hits in seven innings and Ryan Doumit hit his first career grand slam -- one of three Pittsburgh homers against Cincinnati.

Maholm (1-0) got his first road win since July 22, a stretch of futility that was more a reflection of Pittsburgh's offense than his pitching.

Nate McLouth hit a two-run homer in the first inning and a run-scoring single in the seventh. The Pirates pulled away in the ninth, when Doumit hit his grand slam off Mike Lincoln and Adam LaRoche followed with his first homer of the season.

The Reds fell to 1-3 for the first time since 2003, their first season in Great American Ball Park.

Johnny Cueto (0-1) struck out nine batters in six innings, but gave up five extra-base hits -- three doubles, a triple and McLouth's second homer of the season.

Braves 5, Nationals 3

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Braves' Kenshin Kawakami pitched six effective innings to win his major league debut.

Kawakami allowed three runs and four hits, walked four and struck out eight. The 33-year-old right-hander is the first Japanese-born player in franchise history.

Kelly Johnson went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs one night after he had the game-winning hit in the 10th inning of a 6-5 win over the Nationals. Chipper Jones and Yunel Escobar had run-scoring singles for Atlanta.

Ryan Zimmerman had a two-run homer for the Nationals, who dropped to 0-5. John Lannan (0-2) gave up four runs in six innings.

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