ST. LOUIS — Albert Pujols launched a pinch-hit grand slam and drove in five runs, Adam Wainwright pitched seven sharp innings and the St. Louis Cardinals routed the Colorado Rockies 13-0 Thursday for a three-game sweep.
“We’re playing right now, I think the way that we were expecting ourselves to play early in the year,” Pujols said. “We didn’t, but we had some glimpses here and there. Now we’re playing the best baseball we have played all year long.”
Wainwright called Pujols “incredible.”
“He looks the same as when he left to me,” Wainwright said. “This is what he’s supposed to look like, here, this stadium, doing these things.”
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Cardinals are the first team in big league history to have a player at least 40 years old hit a grand slam and another at least 40 to pitch seven shutout innings in the same game. Pujols is 42, 2 years older than Wainwright.
The NL Central-leading Cardinals won their fourth in a row and sent Colorado to its fifth straight loss. St. Louis has won 12 of its past 13 home games and has taken 12 straight from the Rockies at Busch Stadium.
Pujols hit his 690th career home run, connecting off Austin Gomber and capping a five-run third that made it 10-0. It was Pujols’ 16th career grand slam — his first as a pinch hitter — and it moved him into a tie with Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Dave Kingman for 10th-most slams of all time.
He became the first player to hit a pinch-hit grand slam within the first three innings of a game since the Yankees’ Bobby Murcer on July 25, 1971, against the Brewers
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said he went with the unconventional decision to pinch hit Pujols in the third inning for designated hitter Brendan Donovan because he liked the matchup against Gomber.
“He’s been killing lefties,” Marmol said. “The game’s never over, but you can put the game away there with a good swing and it’s always good to get the crowd engaged. We felt good about it and he did his job.”
Pujols added an RBI single.
“I think at the end of the day, just being part of a great organization, a great group of guys that want to win, young players they’re watching, I’m blessed to be here, and just help those guys out,” Pujols said. “It’s fun, trust me.”
Wainwright (10-9) gave up three hits, two of them infield singles. He struck out seven, walked none and retired his final 13 batters.
“My job today it was just to not mess it up,” he said. “The offense was the story. They were incredible you know and Albert hitting the grand slam, I mean we’re just kind of like living in his shadow right, which is where we should be.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.