La Russa: Albert Pujols called hit and run

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols called the hit and run in the seventh inning of Game 5, manager Tony La Russa confirmed on Tuesday.

"I trust Albert," La Russa said. "He's one of the best I've ever been around in putting the ball in play."

La Russa said Pujols has had the "leeway" to call his own hit and run for years now because he's a smart player and has a great sense of the game.

In the seventh inning of Game 5, Pujols didn't swing at a high fastball from Alexi Ogando and catcher Mike Napoli was able to gun down Allen Craig at second base easily. Craig came back to the dugout and La Russa asked him how the hit and run sign had been relayed. La Russa wanted to make sure it hadn't been signaled accidentally from the bench.

La Russa said sometimes Pujols will tell La Russa he's thinking that a hit and run is a good idea and ask his opinion. Pujols didn't do that in Game 5 and La Russa said he wouldn't have hit and run in that situation. But he trusts Pujols and says Pujols has earned the privilege to make that call.