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Pujols snaps out of mini-slump against Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Shut down Albert Pujols once? Maybe. Twice? Unlikely, but possible.

Three times in a row? Uh-uh.

Pujols, 1-for-9 in the first two games of St. Louis' series
against Kansas City, hit two solo homers and drove in three runs as
the Cardinals beat the Royals 13-6 on Sunday.

Pujols went 4-for-6, raising his major league-leading average to
.391. He opened St. Louis' two-run fourth inning with his first
homer of the day, giving the Cardinals a 6-2 lead, and made it 8-2
with a leadoff shot that sparked St. Louis' six-run sixth.

"So I went 1-for-9 before -- so what?" Pujols said. "I knew I
was going to get my at-bats today, and I wasn't going to give any
at-bats away."

Jim Edmonds also drove in three runs for the Cardinals, who wore
vintage uniforms of the 1928 St. Louis Stars on Negro Leagues Day
at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals wore uniforms of the 1924 Kansas
City Monarchs.

Both of Pujols' home runs came off starter Chris George (9-5),
who gave up 10 runs on 11 hits before being lifted with one out in
the sixth.

"If there's a better lineup in baseball, I don't know who's got
it," George said. "If I go out there again and make the same
pitches I made today, I probably get a win."

Brett Tomko (4-5) went seven innings for the Cardinals, who
stayed on top of the NL Central and dropped the Royals into a tie
with Minnesota for the AL Central lead.

Tomko gave up four runs on four hits with three strikeouts and
one walk. He won for the second time in his last three starts --
after going winless in eight starts before that.

"It's been a struggle, to put it lightly," Tomko said. "But
the last three times out, I've finally figured a few things out."

After Kansas City's Desi Relaford led off the first with a home
run, St. Louis took control of the game with a wild five-run second
inning -- capped by Pujols' RBI single -- that saw two players and
possibly a third hurt on one play.

With the bases loaded and no outs, St. Louis' J.D. Drew hit a
groundball to first baseman Ken Harvey, who threw to second to
force out Joe Girardi. Harvey then turned to cover first and ran
into Drew as he reached the base safely with an RBI fielder's
choice that put the Cardinals up 2-1.

Girardi, who slid into second trying to break up the double
play, left after the second inning with a strained lower back. He
said he did not know if he hurt himself sliding or trying to field
Michael Tucker's foul bunt in the bottom of the second.

Drew was removed for pinch-runner Kerry Robinson after reaching
third on Bo Hart's double. Harvey finished the inning, getting an
assist on Edmonds' RBI grounder, but was replaced by Morgan
Burkhart to start the third.

Girardi caught the bottom of the second and was removed for
pinch-hitter Mike Matheny in the third.

Drew sustained a right hip flexor strain, and Harvey bruised his
left shoulder.

After Edmonds' run-scoring grounder, Hart's RBI double made it
4-1. The Cardinals' first run also came on an unusual play.

Harvey fielded Tino Martinez's grounder and threw behind Eduardo
Perez, who was breaking hard from third for the plate. Relaford
threw home, but his high throw let Perez slide in safely.

Edgar Renteria went 2-for-4 with three runs for St. Louis. His
RBI single made it 7-2 in the fourth.

Robinson, called up from Triple-A Memphis on Sunday -- just two
days after being sent down -- was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two
RBI.

In the sixth, after Pujols homered and Perez scored on a wild
pitch, Robinson hit a two-run double and Edmonds followed with a
two-run single that made it 13-2.

Tucker drove in three runs for the Royals, with a two-run homer
in the sixth inning and an RBI single in the eighth. Carlos Beltran
had an RBI single in the third and Aaron Guiel hit one in the
eighth to make it 13-6.

Game notes
The Cardinals scratched RHP Matt Morris from his scheduled
start Monday against San Francisco with a tender right shoulder.
The team plans to call up RHP Dan Haren from Memphis to make his
major league debut. ... It was the second early departure for Drew
in the three-game series. On Friday, he rolled his ankle on the
dugout steps and had to leave after three innings. ... Relaford has
two career leadoff homers, both against St. Louis. The first was
June 20. ... The Royals plan to call up RHP Brad Voyles from
Triple-A Omaha to start the first game of Monday's doubleheader
against Cleveland. ... Pujols and Renteria recorded their 36th
multihit games, tied for the NL lead. ... The series drew 118,806
fans, the fourth-highest total in Royals history for a three-game
series. ... Hart went 1-for-5, dropping his batting average from
.489 to .460.