didn't drive in runs at the start of their careers like
Pujols hit a three-run double to reach the 100 RBIs mark for the ninth consecutive season and
limited Pittsburgh to one run over 6 2-3 innings, leading the Cardinals past the Pirates 5-3 on Saturday night.
Pujols, who hits better in Pittsburgh than any other hitter, missed a chance to possibly break open the game when he grounded
into a double play in the fifth with two on and none out. He made up for it an inning later with a bases-loaded double down
the left-field line that made it 5-0.
Pujols missed a chance for a sixth grand slam, but he rarely misses with the bases loaded. He is 8 for 10 with 27 RBIs with
three runners on this season.
''It's an amazing run of production with the bases full,'' manager
Tony La Russa
Teammates used similar adjectives to praise Pujols, the only National League player to begin his career with nine consecutive
seasons of 100 or more RBIs. The only major league hitter with a longer streak is Hall of Famer
, who had 11 consecutive seasons with the Philadelphia Athletics from 1924-34.
''It's very special,'' Pujols said. ''It's pretty amazing, but you can't do it by yourself. It's not easy to do it for one
year, to do it for nine years in a row is special.''
Going into this season, Pujols was tied with
at eight consecutive seasons, but now he's eclipsed Williams.
''Wow,'' Wainwright said when told of the Pujols' statistics. ''He's unbelievable. He's been great all year. He's almost human.
He's the best, period.''
The Pirates probably agree. Pujols, who went 1 for 5, is hitting .429 against Pittsburgh this season with three homers and
11 RBIs in 11 games. He is career .380 hitter at PNC Park, where he has 64 RBIs in 67 career games.
Pujols insists he doesn't do anything differently at the plate with the bases loaded.
''I don't change my approach, It's nothing special with bases loaded - it is special because I've come through so many times,
but I haven't changed my approach at all,'' he said.
Wainwright (13-7) didn't need much support in dealing the Pirates their seventh consecutive loss, all at home. The Pirates'
only run off the right-hander came on
's RBI single in the sixth, and Wainwright was pulled an inning later only because he threw 112 pitches, 83 for strikes.
Wainwright won his sixth in a row on the road - he hasn't lost away from Busch Stadium since May 31 - and is 9-1 in 11 road
starts. He struck out six and didn't walk any as the Cardinals, back in first place in the NL Central, won for the eighth
time in 11 games.
hit a two-run homer with two out in the ninth against
, but the Pirates still dropped their 12th in 14 games. They are 2-7 during a 10-game homestand that began July 31, when they
finished up a series of trades that stripped their roster of five opening day starters.
The deals weakened a bullpen that has given up 26 runs in 29 innings since left-hander
was traded to the Cubs.
(2-5) was effective, limiting the Cardinals to one run on
's RBI single in the fifth, but St. Louis scored four times in the sixth against right-hander
in his Pirates debut.
Bootcheck gave up
's single and walked
in a span of five batters to force in a run, and Pujols followed with his double.
''I got an opportunity to help my teammates but I missed (in the fifth), but I came through in the sixth and contributed big
for my team,'' Pujols said.
Bootcheck walked only seven all season at Triple-A Indianapolis.
''Jittery, I don't know,'' manager
said of the reliever, the 21st pitcher used by the Pirates this season. ''He just nibbled at the plate.''
After Cedeno homered,
came on to get the final out and his 26th save in 28 attempts.
NOTES: The Cardinals have won three in a row in Pittsburgh after dropping five in a row there. ... St. Louis RHP
will start Tuesday against Cincinnati after working out of the bullpen twice. ... RHP
rejoined the Cardinals after attending a funeral. ... The crowd of 38,593 was the Pirates' largest at home this season.