Pujols Responds To Game 2 Challenge

In the Division Series, the shortcomings of stars like Evan Longoria, Alex Rodriguez and Cliff Lee sent their teams home early. The brightest of baseball’s stars, St. Louis’ Albert Pujols had no intention of joining that list. With the Cardinals trying to get a win in Milwaukee and salvage a split of the first two games, Pujols homered early to gave St. Loo a 2-0 lead and then just kept hitting. Three doubles later he had six RBIs and the Cardinals won in a 13-2 rout.

Pujols couldn’t drive in runners if they weren’t on base, so a shout-out to #2 hitter John Jay who had three hits of his own. And while Edwin Jackson was given a quick hook by Tony LaRussa in the fifth—understandable given the stakes of this game—the starter only made one mistake a two-run homer to Rickie Weeks that was the Brewers’ only high point of the night. St. Louis now has command of the series. Milwaukee is not a good road team and must win at least one of the next three away from Miller Park to get the series back north for Games 6 & 7. And if they do so, Shawn Marcum, now blasted in two straight postseason starts, following a subpar second half, would be the Brewer pitcher for Game 6. Everything’s looking good for LaRussa’s club right now.

Everything’s looking very good for Texas, whose 11-inning win over Detroit gave them a 2-0 series lead. Consider this—even if the Rangers lose all three games in the Motor City, they would not only still get the series back home with a chance to win it, but Justin Verlander would be done for Detroit by that point, scheduled for a start in Game 5. Texas’ pitching depth is shining in this series. Starters Alexi Ogando and Scott Feldman, sent to the pen for the postseason, combined to throw six shutout innings after Detroit scored three in third. And Nelson Cruz is running away with the race to be MVP of this series. After a big Game 1 home run, he hit a tying home run in the seventh yesterday to make it 3-3 and then hit a walkoff grand slam to win it in the 11th.

The series moves to Detroit and picks right up tonight with Game 3, as the travel day was lost to the rain on Sunday. It’s a good pitching matchup with Colby Lewis, who’s won four straight starts in the American League playoffs dating back to last year, going against Doug Fister, who threw five solid innings in Detroit’s decisive win over New York in the first round.