Saturday, July 30, 2011
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Pujols reaches 2,000-hit mark in Cardinals victory

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[July 30, 2011]  ST. LOUIS (AP) -- With a young fan present, it was water, not champagne, that drenched Albert Pujols in the St. Louis clubhouse to celebrate his 2,000th hit.

"I think it's pretty special to have my son (A.J.) come in here with a couple of bottles of water and spray it all over me," Pujols said. "It's something he'll remember hopefully for the rest of his life."

Edwin Jackson pitched seven innings in his debut with St. Louis, lifting the Cardinals to a 9-2 victory Friday over the Chicago Cubs.

David Freese hit a three-run homer and Ryan Theriot, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the sixth, drove in three runs on two hits.

Pujols stood on second base and waved his helmet in appreciation of the standing ovation by 42,042 fans at Busch Stadium after recording his 2,000th hit. The Cubs waited, giving Pujols his moment.

"I think if they would have kept going, I think a couple of drops would have come out of my eyes," Pujols said. "To be able to share this moment with them is incredible. Hopefully, I can continue to do it the rest of my career."

In his 10th-plus season, Pujols is 263rd overall on the major league hit list. He's the fifth Cardinal to get 2,000 hits and is the 12th-quickest player to 2,000 hits, taking 1,650 games.

Pujols joined Stan Musial (3,630), Lou Brock (2,713), Rogers Hornsby (2,110) and Enos Slaughter (2,063) as the only Cardinals to get 2,000 with the franchise.

"What a great thrill to behold it," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "It's a great accomplishment this early in his career. I can't begin to describe it. I've tried but he's just a great, great player."

According to projections, Pujols will reach 3,000 hits in August 2016.

"That's a long ways from now," Pujols said. "I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. I don't like to think about numbers. Hopefully, 3,000 will be here before you know it, but it's a long way to 3,000 now. It's a lot of hard work and hopefully one day it'll all pay off and my next goal will be to be in Cooperstown, but I don't want to think about it. I want to help this club just win."

The eighth-inning double down the third-base line off Carlos Marmol capped a 2-for-5 night and drove in a run.

Chicago manager Mike Quade could have walked Pujols as first base was open but he opted not to.

"The place would have gone nuts had we put him on," Quade said. "I thought it was a hell of a challenge."

Jackson, a right-hander, was dealt Wednesday in a three-team deal from the Chicago White Sox to the Toronto Blue Jays, then to the Cardinals.

Jackson (8-7) gave up seven hits and two walks. He was won four of his last five decisions and allowed three earned runs in 22 innings, winning his last three starts.

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"I just tried to go out there and make a nice debut and get aggressive," Jackson said. "Hat's off to everyone."

The Cardinals have won their last five games against the Cubs. The last time they won five straight over Chicago was in 2000. The loss sank the Cubs, losers of four straight, to 22 games below .500, their low-water mark of the season.

Pujols led off the fourth inning with a double. After Matt Holliday singled, Freese hit a three-run homer into the left-center field bleachers off Matt Garza (4-8) for a 3-1 lead.

"They beat me on one pitch. That's all it was," Garza said. "I felt like I had good stuff. He guessed right. You tip your cap. Chalk it up as one of those days and get ready for the next five days."

St. Louis added its last three runs in the eighth. The final one came on Pujols' double.

Kyle McClellan made his first appearance since being dropped from the starting rotation with the addition of Jackson. He got one out in the eighth, facing four batters and giving up a run to make it 6-2.

In the first inning, Pujols hit into his major league-leading 23rd double play. It was the 113th double play hit into by the Cardinals, who lead the majors.

NOTES: St. Louis native and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Chuck Berry, celebrating his 84th birthday, threw out the first pitch to infielder Tyler Greene, who was recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Memphis. Berry was wearing a Cardinals jersey with No. 84 on the back with the words "Father of Rock and Roll" on it. Berry tunes played between each inning. Earlier in the day, a life-sized statue of Berry was unveiled in suburban University City. ... The Cardinals placed infielder Nick Punto on the 15-day disabled list with a strained his left oblique muscle. ... Cubs left-handed reliever James Russell pitched one-third of an inning to give him to 14 scoreless innings this year.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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