ST. LOUIS — Albert Pujols hit a game-ending homer in extra innings for the second straight day, beating the Cubs with a leadoff shot in the 10th inning of the St. Louis Cardinals’ 3-2 victory on Sunday.
Pujols hammered a 2-1 belt-high fastball from Rodrigo Lopez (0-1) an estimated 446 feet to left for his 10th career game-ending homer. His fifth during a seven-game homestand and No. 13 for the season gave the Cardinals a three-game sweep over the scuffling Cubs, who have lost nine of 11.
The Cardinals were down to their last strike before Ryan Theriot tied it with an RBI double off Carlos Marmol, driving in pinch-runner Tony Cruz from first. Theriot extended his hitting streak to 19 games, the Cardinals’ longest since Pujols hit in 30 straight in 2009.
Marmol has two blown save opportunities in his last three appearances and is 10 for 14 overall. He had worked a franchise-record 26 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings on the road before Theriot doubled down the left-field line on a 2-2 pitch.
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano pitched seven crisp innings, yielding one run and five hits. The right-hander is 7-1 with a 1.29 ERA in 13 career starts in St. Louis.
Aramis Ramirez returned from a two-game absence with a two-run double in the fourth for the lone damage against hard-luck Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter.
Pujols homered twice on Saturday, with his drive off Jeff Samardzija sending the Cardinals to a 5-4 victory in 12 innings. Pujols also had an infield hit in the sixth Sunday and scored on Allen Craig’s base hit.
Fernando Salas (3-0) worked a perfect 10th against the top of the Cubs’ order to get the win.
Carpenter pitched nine innings, surrendering seven hits and two walks. He finished strong, retiring eight of the last nine batters with the lone baserunner coming on a walk.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.