Pujols' grand slam gets Cards into it as Hoffpauir's first career hit dooms Reds

CINCINNATI -- Albert Pujols appreciates history. He just doesn't let it overshadow what he considers important.

Pujols hit his club-record fourth grand slam of the season and 10th of his career, and Jarrett Hoffpauir drove in the go-ahead runs in the ninth inning with his first career hit as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-4 on Friday night.

Pujols snapped ties with Hall of Famer Stan Musial for the St. Louis single-season and career grand-slam records. The homer also was the 350th of Pujols' career, making him at 29 years, 168 days old the third-youngest player in major league history to reach that mark. Only Alex Rodriguez (28 years, 282 days) and Ken Griffey Jr. (28 years, 308 days) were younger -- not that Pujols was particularly impressed.

"I don't want to talk about that," Pujols said. "You should talk about Hoffy and [Skip Schumaker] getting on base. That's the whole point of the game. We put some good at-bats together. I never think the game is over until there are 27 outs."

Hoffpauir, playing his first major league game after being recalled Wednesday from Triple-A Memphis, capitalized on shortstop Paul Janish's two-out error with a bases-loaded single off Danny Herrera (1-4) to snap a 4-4 tie.

The win gave the Cardinals sole possession of first place in the NL Central, a game ahead of Milwaukee.

Pujols gave the Cardinals a 4-3 lead in the eighth with his grand-slam, but the Reds tied it on Ramon Hernandez's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning.

Pujols, who leads the majors with 31 home runs and 82 RBIs, added a run-scoring double in the ninth to give him five RBI in the game.

"The main defense against Albert is to try to not put guys on base in front of him," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's a one-man wrecking crew."

Jason Motte (3-2) got two outs in the eighth for the win. Ryan Franklin allowed a hit and a two walks in the ninth before striking out Brandon Phillips for his 20th save in 21 opportunities.

The Cardinals were losing 3-0 in the eighth inning when Hoffpauir, pinch-hitting in his first career plate appearance, walked to load the bases with one out.

"I was just trying to get on base," Hoffpauir said. "We had the best hitter in baseball coming up. You're nervous in the on-deck circle, but you tell yourself to settle down and that you've done this before -- just not at this level."

Manager Tony La Russa was impressed with the rookie's patience.

"We had some great at-bats in the eighth inning," he said. "That was what we needed to get Albert up there."

Right-hander David Weathers was brought in to face Pujols, who took a strike and two balls and popped one foul that fell in the camera area at the outfield-end of the first-base dugout, just out of the reach of first baseman Joey Votto.

"I was just trying to stay away from the double play," Pujols said. "He got a fastball up, and I had my best swing of the night."

Weathers realized that many believe Pujols should be pitched around and maybe even walked in that situation.

"Then you've got the tying run on second base," he said. "I did what I wanted to do. I was trying to throw a fastball down and away, but I got it up a little bit. He pulled an outside pitch. I was hoping it would just be a double, but he's so strong."

Reds relievers hadn't allowed a run in 16 2/3 innings over five games before Pujols' homer.

The home run wasted a solid pitching effort by Homer Bailey, who allowed just three hits and two runs in a career-high 7 1/3 innings. Bailey also had five strikeouts while issuing just two walks after allowing a career-high seven last Saturday in Cincinnati's 7-3 win at Cleveland. The sellout crowd of 41,349 gave him a standing ovation as he walked to the dugout after giving up a a hit and a walk while getting one out in the eighth.

Joel Pineiro, who went 1-4 in June while the Cardinals scored a total of 11 runs in his five starts, allowed eight hits and three runs with one strikeout in seven innings. He didn't walk a batter.

Game notes
The Reds activated third baseman Edwin Encarnacion from the 60-day disabled list before Friday's game. Encarnacion had been out since April 28 with a chip fracture of his left wrist. He didn't start, but entered in a double switch in the ninth and doubled. ... IF Danny Richar was placed on 15-day disabled list with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, and IF Wilkin Castillo was moved from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day list. ... IF-OF Mark DeRosa remained available to just play defense or run while dealing with the left wrist he injured Tuesday. ... The sellout crowd was Cincinnati's fifth this season.