St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was hoping a victory over the defending World Series champs would help his club get back on track. So far, it's done just that, even though three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols continues to struggle.
Coming off their first set of back-to-back wins this season, the Cardinals look to continue their strong play Tuesday night at Chase Field where they continue a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
After averaging 2.6 runs and batting .216 during a 2-6 start, the Cardinals (4-6) had 11 hits and snapped a season-high three-game losing streak Sunday with a 6-1 victory at San Francisco.
"You have to start somewhere,' La Russa said after that contest. "You build a little momentum and a little confidence and you build on it. Hopefully this is where it starts.'
The Cardinals made it two in a row Monday, beating Arizona 8-2 to improve to 2-2 on their season-high 10-game trip. St. Louis had season bests with 14 hits and three home runs, two from new right fielder Lance Berkman.
However, Pujols' poor start continued with a 1-for-5 effort. He is batting .150 with one homer - his only extra-base hit - and four RBIs, just two more than Cardinals starter Kyle McClellan had Monday in his first career win as a starter.
"He did it all,' La Russa said of McClellan, who threw six innings of one-run ball.
If Pujols can start doing what he's accustomed to at the plate, that should help staff ace Chris Carpenter (0-1, 2.08 ERA), who has a run-support average of 1.38 in two starts.
Carpenter, the 2005 NL Cy Young winner, went six innings in his last outing, yielding two runs and eight hits in Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh.
Carpenter is 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA in 10 starts against the Diamondbacks, including a 3-0 mark in Arizona. However, Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Young is 6 for 12 with a homer and two doubles off him.
The Diamondbacks (4-5), who are 2-2 on their nine-game homestand, counter with Armando Galarraga (1-0, 5.14). Acquired from Detroit in the offseason, the right-hander struck out five and allowed four runs over seven innings in his NL debut Wednesday, a 6-4 win at the Chicago Cubs that snapped a three-game skid for Arizona.
"He looked great," catcher Miguel Montero told the Diamondbacks' official website. "He looked aggressive the whole time, he worked ahead in the count. He went out there and competed, it was impressive."
This will be Galarraga's second start against St. Louis. He surrendered five runs over 4 2-3 innings and did not earn a decision in an 8-7 Tigers victory June 25, 2008.
Pujols, out with a strained calf for that contest, has never faced Galarraga.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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