Albert Pujols became the first player in major league history to hit 30 home runs in each of his first five seasons, helping Mark Mulder and the Cardinals end John Smoltz' eight-game winning streak with an 11-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves last night in St. Louis.
Smoltz (12-6) lost for the first time since June 6, allowing five runs and six hits in six innings with six strikeouts and two intentional walks. He had a 2.05 ERA during the streak, which had been tied with Cardinals 16-game winner Chris Carpenter for the longest in the NL.
Pujols hit a two-run shot in the first for his 190th homer since breaking in with the Cardinals in 2001. He was intentionally walked and scored on Abraham Nunez's two-run single in the sixth, giving him a major league-leading 93 runs.
Jim Edmonds and So Taguchi homered for the Cardinals, who won the opener of a three-game series between division leaders in front of a sellout crowd of 47,838. Taguchi added a two-run single and Einar Diaz and Scott Seabol also drove in a run in a five-run eighth for St. Louis, which has won five of seven and handed the Braves only their fourth loss in 13 games.
Padres 6, Nationals 5 -- Nationals starter Livan Hernandez tossed his glove, cap, and jacket into the stands after being lifted in the sixth inning and host Washington went on to lose to San Diego on an unearned run in the ninth.
When he left the game, Hernandez was in line for the victory. That's because backup catcher Gary Bennett put the Nationals ahead, 5-4, with a two-run single in the fifth off Woody Williams.
Mets 9, Cubs 5 -- Mike Cameron and Cliff Floyd each had two-run hits in a six-run second inning and host New York used 14 singles to beat Chicago.
Dodgers 12, Pirates 6 -- Olmedo Saenz homered while driving in a career-high six runs and Los Angeles hit three home runs in a victory at Pittsburgh.
Giants 4, Astros 0 -- Jason Schmidt pitched eight shutout innings, Lance Niekro hit a two-run homer, and host San Francisco handed Andy Pettitte his first loss in nearly seven weeks.
Brewers 3, Phillies 1 -- Ben Sheets pitched nine dominant innings and Milwaukee took advantage of two errors on the same base hit in the 10th inning to win in Philadelphia.
Marlins 5, Reds 1 -- Rookie Jason Vargas shut down the National League's highest-scoring team, Miguel Cabrera and Alex Gonzalez homered, and Florida won in Cincinnati.
Rockies 6, Diamondbacks 4 -- Lance Cormier's errant throw to third in the ninth allowed Garrett Atkins to score the go-ahead run and Colorado won at Phoenix.