KANSAS CITY — Adam Wainwright allowed one hit in a career-high eight innings and Albert Pujols drove in three runs, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-3 victory Wednesday night over the Kansas City Royals.
Wainwright (5-5) had allowed only two base runners — on a walk and an infield error — when Esteban German singled to left with two out in the sixth to break up the no-hitter. Wainwright struck out three and walked two.
Pujols, who went to high school in Independence, just a few miles from Kauffman Stadium, singled home a run in the first off Odalis Perez (3-7) and then keyed a five-run second inning with a two-run single. The All-Star first baseman, who was passed on by the Royals in the 1999 draft because they worried he would become overweight, seems to always punish his hometown team.
At Kansas City, Pujols has a .398 average with seven home runs and 23 RBIs in 83 at-bats.
Tyler Johnson started the ninth and gave up a three-run home run to Alex Gordon, his fourth. Johnson retired only one batter and was replaced by Russ Springer, who got the final two outs.
Wainwright walked Mark Teahen, the third batter he faced, on a 3-1 count. But he did not allow another base runner until David DeJesus reached on a fielding error by shortstop Aaron Miles with two outs in the sixth.
German, subbing for ailing second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, then singled cleanly between third and short. But Teahen lined out sharply to end the inning and Wainwright, throwing a mixture of breaking balls and fastballs, retired the next five batters before issuing his second walk, to Joey Gathright with two outs in the eighth.
Wainwright, who got the save in the clinching wins in both the NLCS and World Series last year, was returned to the rotation in spring training after the departure of several starters, including Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver.
Perez went three-plus innings and gave up seven runs — six earned — and 10 hits. He walked two and did not have a strikeout.
The Royals had two players leave the game with apparent injury.
Reliever Brandon Duckworth left after throwing just two pitches in the fourth and designated hitter Mike Sweeney was replaced after stumbling and falling while running to first on a routine groundout in the bottom of the inning.
Sweeney had tightness in his lower back and is considered day-to-day, the Royals said.