Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 16, Diamondbacks 7

Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 16, Diamondbacks 7

By Rob Rains

Albert Pujols provided the early offensive fireworks for the Cardinals on Saturday night before letting his teammates get in on some of the fun.

Pujols hit two home runs for the second time in his last five games and then added a pair of singles before the Cardinals scored eight times in a ninth inning that began with them clinging to an 8-7 lead.

The home runs were the 691st and 692nd of Pujols’ career as he also moved past Stan Musial into second place for the most total bases in baseball history, trailing only Hank Aaron. He is five home runs away from passing Alex Rodriguez for fourth place on the all-time list.

Pujols became the first player in history 42 or older to have a four-hit game that included two home runs.

The win over the Diamondbacks in Phoenix was the sixth in a row for the Cardinals, who now have opened up a five-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central with 43 games left in the season. It’s their largest division lead since Sept. 18, 2015, when they also had a five-game lead.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The ninth inning featured a three-run homer by Paul Goldschmidt, his 31st of the season, which also allowed him to reach 100 RBIs … That homer came after Paul DeJong broke an 0-for-20 streak with a grand slam … The other RBI in the inning came from Nolan Gorman, pinch-hitting for Pujols, and getting a single in his first major-league at-bat in his home town … Both of Pujols’ solo homers came off Madison Bumgarner, in the second and fourth inning … Lars Nootbaar reached base five times, with three of the Cardinals’ 18 hits, and a pair of walks. One of his hits was a two-run triple and he also scored on the play because of an error.

On the mound: Dakota Hudson allowed four runs and once again failed to get through the fifth inning  … After Andre Pallante worked two scoreless innings, Jordan Hicks failed to retire any of the four hitters he faced in the eighth and three scored, cutting the Cardinals’ lead from 8-4 to 8-7. He gave up a home run, a walk and two singles as his ERA for the season rose to 5.55 … Giovanny Galleos was able to strand the tying run at third.

Key stat: This was the ninth time in his career that Pujols has had at least four hits and two home runs in a game but it was the first time he had done it since April 29, 2013. It’s the third time a Cardinal has done it this season, with Gorman and Goldschmidt the other two.

Worth noting: The Cardinals placed Yadier Molina on the restricted list and activated Ivan Herrera from the taxi squad. Molina reportedly said he needed to return to his home in Puerto Rico for personal business reasons. He is the owner of a basketball team that is playing this weekend for a league championship. Molina is expected to rejoin the Cardinals on Monday in Chicago … The Cardinals played their eighth consecutive game without an error … When the Diamondbacks took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, it marked the first time the Cardinals had trailed at the end of an inning in 38 innings …  Jack Flaherty is scheduled to make his third minor-league rehab start on Sunday, again pitching in Springfield.

Looking ahead: Jose Quintana will get the start on Sunday as the Cardinals try to complete a sweep of the three-game series.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.