Pujols’ bat leads way as Cards rip Pirates

Wednesday, June 2, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:32 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

PITTSBURGH — Albert Pujols has compiled impressive statistics in almost every place he has played. They’re just a little better in Pittsburgh.

Pujols went 5-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs to lead the Cardinals to an 8-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

It was Pujols’ second five-hit game, both coming at PNC Park, where he is hitting .412 (47-for-114) with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs since the park opened in 2001, his rookie season.

“I don’t think about the park,” Pujols said. “It doesn’t matter where it happens. Wherever we play, I try to do my best and help our team win.”

The Cardinals have at least 10 hits, 13 Tuesday, in each of their past 14 visits to Pittsburgh, going 12-2. They are 20-6 in the Pirates’ new stadium. No visiting team has won more games there.

Pujols is batting .524 in his past 11 games, with seven home runs and 14 RBIs.

“He hits every place against everybody,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.

His team is 4-1 on its seven-game road trip, and leads the National League in road victories, with a 17-9 record.

The Cardinals overcame the loss of Scott Rolen, who was hit in the batting helmet with a pitch by Ryan Vogelsong in the first inning. Rolen remained in the game and scored in the Cardinals’ three-run first, but was ordered out of the game in the bottom half. He was taken out for precautionary reasons and will be re-evaluated today.

Rolen, who had a bump on his forehead, had a mild concussion diagnosed in him.

“I’ve never been hit that hard,” he said. “At that time of the day, it’s hard to see the ball. I never saw it. I had no chance to even soften the blow.”

Asked if he had a headache, Rolen said, “Yeah. When you get hit with a 95 mph fastball in the head, a headache isn’t out of the question.”

Rolen did not hold a grudge against Vogelsong.

“I’ll tell you what, I’m a Vogelsong fan,” Rolen said. “He came out of the game and he called over to the clubhouse and asked me if I was all right and apologized. That’s first class right there.”

La Russa, on the other hand, is not.

“Anytime you’re in the major leagues, you throw the ball inside, you have to get it below the shoulders,” La Russa said. “I mean, that’s inexcusable. It just doesn’t look real good when (Rolen) hits a three-run homer (Monday), and I believe he hit a three-run home run against that kid.”

Rolen hit a three-run home run off Vogelsong on Thursday in St. Louis.

“He knows it wasn’t intentional,” Vogelsong said.

Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan (5-4) won for the second time in a week against his former team. He allowed six hits and a run, striking out four and walking two in seven-plus innings.

The Pirates dropped their third in a row after winning six of eight. They are 9-16 at home. St. Louis scored three times in the first against Vogelsong, who has allowed 20 first-inning runs in 10 starts. Opposing batters have hit .435 (20-for-46) in the first against him.

Ray Lankford walked, Pujols singled and Vogelsong then hit Rolen.

The Cardinals added two more runs in the second, the first on consecutive, two-out doubles by Tony Womack and Lankford. Pujols drove in Lankford with a sharp single to left.

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