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August 6, 2009

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Pujols' slam rallies Cardinals

ALBERT Pujols made it sound so simple. All he had to do to snap out of his brief slump was make sure he had good swings.

Facing the New York Mets' pitching may have helped, too. Whatever the reason, Pujols put that mini-funk behind him in style on Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a grand slam in the 10th inning for his second homer of the game and the Cardinals rallied for a 12-7 victory over the sliding New York Mets.

"I'm human. I'm not a machine," said Pujols, disputing a popular SportsCenter commercial on ESPN. "I work hard. I'm ready every day. I didn't put my head down. I don't change myself and I don't change my approach."

Pujols finished with four hits and five RBI for the Cardinals, ending an 0 for 13 skid with his ninth multihomer game of the season. Ryan Ludwick also went deep and drove in two runs for St Louis.

The Cardinals scored eight times in the last three innings to hand New York its fifth loss in six games. With two out and the bases loaded in the 10th, Sean Green replaced Pedro Feliciano (4-4) and hit Mark DeRosa on the left elbow with his first pitch to give St Louis an 8-7 lead.

"That's not how I had it planned out but (I've) just been erratic with my location," said Green, whose wild pitch plated the deciding run in New York's 2-3 loss to Arizona on Friday night, "and it's cost us the last couple outings."

With the Citi Field crowd still jeering Green, Pujols hit an 0-2 pitch into the seats in left to tie Ernie Banks' National League record of five slams in a season set in 1955. The All-Star slugger is 7 for 9 with 24 RBI with the bases loaded this year and leads the majors with 36 homers. He is one slam behind the major league record for a season held by Travis Hafner and Don Mattingly.

Elsewhere in the NL, it was: Diamondbacks 6, Pirates 0; Rockies 8, Phillies 3; Nationals 6, Marlins 4; Cubs 6, Reds 3; Giants 8, Astros 1; Braves 9, Padres 2; and Dodgers 17, Brewers 4.

In New York, Kyle McClellan (3-2) pitched a scoreless 10th for St Louis, which managed to get the win despite a shaky outing by Joel Pineiro.

Johan Santana hit a two-run double and pitched a season-high eight innings for New York, which fell nine games behind NL wildcard-leading Colorado.

St Louis scored two runs in the ninth to tie it at 7 and hand Francisco Rodriguez his fourth blown save in 28 opportunities this season.


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