Pujols and the Angels hope to take advantage of a matchup with struggling St. Louis Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller and earn a season high-tying eighth straight win Wednesday night.
Pujols went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and a walk in his first matchup with St. Louis since leaving to sign a 10-year, $240 million deal with Los Angeles after the 2011 season. The Angels, though, had few problems after scoring five runs in the second inning Tuesday, winning 5-1."It was a little weird. But I was fine, guys. I swear. I'm being honest," Pujols said. "I mean, it would have been a little different if it was in St. Louis. I mean, you can't forget the special times you had with those guys during those 11 years there. That's something nobody can take away - the success I had there and how those fans and everybody in the community treated me."
While with St. Louis, Pujols became the first player to hit .300 with at least 30 home runs in his first 10 seasons but the three-time NL MVP has seen his average dip to .247 during a 4-for-37 slump.
Pujols batted a career-low .285 in his first season with the Angels (40-43), who will try to match their eight straight wins from May 18-26.
Facing the scuffling Miller (8-6, 2.79 ERA) could prove beneficial for Los Angeles and Pujols as he's 1-3 with a 6.38 ERA in his last four starts. The right-hander has also posted an 11.05 ERA in his first set of back-to-back defeats.
Miller failed to pitch five innings for the first time in 17 career starts Friday in Oakland, giving up five runs in 1 2-3 frames in a 6-1 loss. That defeat was one of seven in the past nine games for the Cardinals (49-33).
"There are going to be tough times where they have to push through and figure out how to still get outs," manager Mike Matheny told the team's website. "He's been throwing the ball well as a whole, and we'll see how he works through this now."
The Angels are batting .290 while outscoring their past seven opponents 43-19, but Jerome Williams (5-3, 3.21) couldn't benefit in his most recent outing.
The right-hander gave up one run over 6 1-3 innings Friday in Houston but did not get a decision in a 4-2 win. The Angels scored three runs after he exited.
Williams is 1-2 in his last four starts despite a respectable 3.91 ERA. Los Angeles has given him one run or fewer in three of those games.
Williams is 3-3 with a 4.71 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals but the most recent was April 21, 2006, while with the Chicago Cubs . Pujols hit a two-run homer off him in that 9-3 loss, and Yadier Molina , the only current Cardinals player to face him in that game, singled in one of his two at-bats.
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|July 02, 2013||Matt Holliday||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck/back|
|May 26, 2013||John Gast||15-Day DL||Left shoulder tightness|
|May 26, 2013||Carlos Beltran||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder soreness|
|May 25, 2013||John Gast||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shoulder tightness|
|May 21, 2013||Fernando Salas||15-Day DL||Right shoulder irritation|
|May 21, 2013||Fernando Salas||15-Day DL||Right shoulder irritation|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|June 30, 2013||Peter Bourjos||15-Day DL||Nondisplaced bone fracture, right wrist|
|June 29, 2013||Peter Bourjos||Day-to-Day||Left game - right wrist|
|June 23, 2013||Peter Bourjos||Day-to-Day||Left game - left thumb injury|
|June 21, 2013||Tommy Hanson||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm|
|June 21, 2013||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Right wrist soreness|
|June 18, 2013||Jason Vargas||15-Day DL||Blood clot, left arm|
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- St. Louis scored more runs than the Los Angeles Angels had allowed in their previous six games combined, and the Cardinals' table-setters were responsible for driving in half of them.
Jon Jay had three RBIs, including a two-run homer off center fielder Mike Trout 's glove during St. Louis' seven-run second inning, and the Cardinals ended Los Angeles' seven-game winning streak with a 12-2 rout on Wednesday night.
Matt Carpenter , batting leadoff in front of Jay, also homered and drove in three runs to help keep the Cardinals two games behind Pittsburgh in the NL Central.
" Matt Carpenter sets the tone for us, and he had a terrific game," manager Mike Matheny said. "He put together good at-bats and he doesn't give any away. It was also nice to see John Jay have some real nice at-bats. We need to get him going, and today was a real good indicator that he's on the right path. He's been making some adjustments that are allowing him to have good at-bats, and it worked out for him today."
Shelby Miller (9-6) struck out six over six innings and allowed five hits, including a two-run homer by Hank Conger in the second. The right-hander was coming off back-to-back losses against two other AL West clubs, including a 6-1 defeat last Friday at Oakland in which he lasted only 1 2-3 innings and gave up five runs.
"I wouldn't say I was any fresher tonight. I mean, I threw 51 pitches in the second inning at Oakland and that's going to wear your arm down more so than going eight innings and throwing 100 pitches," Miller said. "But I felt strong, so I basically wanted to try to go deep in the ballgame. My pitch (count) rose up again, but I got some big plays behind me.
"The biggest thing was just trying to get the ball down and hit the corners," Miller added. "I felt like I was on the corners - not the whole game, but more so than I had been. My fastball command was better and I felt like my curve ball was sharper. I just made that one mistake to Conger where I did that slide-step and tried to fool him with the curve, but I just hung it and left it right over the middle of the plate."
Jerome Williams (5-4) was charged with seven runs, four hits and four walks in just 1 2-3 innings. The right-hander had not given up more than three bases on balls in any of his previous 17 starts.
"After winning that many in a row, you almost always think you're due for a butt-kicking," Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton said. "You'd rather lose one like this than a really close one, but you've got to put it behind you."
One night after the Angels scored all of their runs in the second inning of a series-opening 5-1 victory, the Cardinals sent 12 men to the plate in the second after Williams had set them down 1-2-3 in the first.
The seven-run rally included a two-run double by David Descalso, and a two-run homer by Jay that Trout had in his glove for an instant before it popped out as his arm made contact with the top of the fence.
"The hardest play to make is when you get there at the same time as the ball," Hamilton said. "You're moving pretty good when you get there and don't have time to really have a chance to time anything."
Yadier Molina , who raised his NL-leading average to .352 after going 3 for 4 with a walk, greeted Garrett Richards with an RBI single that delivered the seventh run.
The Angels got two runs back in the bottom half on Conger's fifth homer after a two-out walk to Alberto Callaspo . But David Freese scored an unearned run in the Cardinals' third when Richards mishandled a throw from first baseman Mark Trumbo on Carpenter's two-out grounder behind the bag.
St. Louis increased the margin to 10-2 in the fifth on a run-scoring, ground-rule double by Carpenter and an RBI single by Jay, who had driven in only one run in his previous 35 at-bats coming in. It was only his second game this season with three or more RBIs, the other on May 4 when he had four at Milwaukee.
Carpenter ended the scoring in the eighth with his eighth homer, a solo shot off Billy Buckner .
NOTES: Matheny caught Williams when they were teammates in San Francisco during the 2005 season. ... St. Louis LF Matt Holliday didn't play for the second straight night because of a pinched nerve in his neck. ... Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright was named the NL pitcher of the month for June after going 4-2 with a 1.77 ERA in six starts, including a pair of complete-game 7-1 victories over San Francisco and Oakland. He is the only one on the staff this season to average at least seven innings per outing. ... Molina was back in the fifth spot in the batting order, after hitting in the two hole the previous six games and going 7 for 25 with a homer and three RBIs. ... Cardinals LF Allen Craig drew three walks in the first four innings, matching the total he had in 116 plate appearances over his previous 28 games. He has 18 this season in 338 plate appearances. ... Wednesday was the fourth anniversary of Albert Pujols ' 10th career grand slam with the Cardinals, which broke Stan Musial 's franchise record. ... Jay's only other interleague home run came on June 30, 2011, at Baltimore against Brian Matusz . ... The Angels have committed 61 errors, the second-most in the AL. The Cardinals have made 34, the fewest in the NL. ... Howie Kendrick 's 102 hits are the most by an Angels second baseman before the All-Star break.