Pujols homers three times as Cubs drop series to Cards

Albert Pujols hit three long balls and Adam Wainwright pitched seven impressive innings, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 9-1 victory against the Cubs on Sunday.Pujols homered in the first, fifth and ninth innings for his fourth career three-homer game, and first since Sept. 3, 2006, against the Pirates. He has hit four home runs in four games after the drought.Pujols dismissed the idea that his recent struggles were related to injuries.Pujols had a season-high four RBI and took over sole possession of second place on the Cardinals’ RBI list with 1,150. Pujols trails only Stan Musial, who had 1,951 RBI for St. Louis.The Cardinals, who will begin a three-game series against the NL Central-leading Reds on Monday, won their first series at Wrigley Field since taking two of three from the Cubs on April 20-22, 2007.Wainwright (7-3) improved to 5-0 in his past eight starts against the Cubs. He allowed only one run on seven hits. He struck out eight and walked two.The Cardinals finished a six-game road trip 3-3 and showed offensive life after getting shut out by Carlos Silva and the Cubs on Saturday. The Cardinals’ 2-5 hitters had 12 of the team’s 14 hits. Pujols’ had three hits and Matt Holliday added four. Holliday is 10 for 17 in his past four games.David Freese, who also had three hits, hit a two-run shot for the Cardinals.All nine of the Cardinals’ runs came after two outs.Cubs starter Ryan Dempster (3-5) allowed six runs on nine hits. He struck out seven and walked three on 125 pitches.With two outs in the first, Pujols hit a towering shot on a 1-2 pitch that easily cleared the left-center bleachers and landed on Waveland Avenue.In the fifth, Pujols pulled Dempster’s two-out, 3-2 pitch just inside the left-field foul pole and onto Waveland to give St. Louis a 4-0 lead. It was Pujols third multihomer game of the season and 36th overall and he is only one game behind Musial for most in club history.Pujols’ third home run of the game came off John Grabow in the ninth. He hit a 1-2 pitch to straightaway center for his 12th of the season. After Holliday singled, Freese hit his fourth home run of the season.Geovany Soto hit a home run in the seventh for the Cubs, who wound up splitting a six-game homestand.In the second inning with two outs, Aramis Ramirez tried to score from second on Starlin Castro’s single, but center fielder Jon Jay threw out Ramirez at the plate.The Cubs saw another scoring chance spoiled in the fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, Castro hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Brendan Ryan to set up an easy inning-ending double play.

NOTES—Carlos Zambrano will return to the starting rotation Wednesday at Pittsburgh.  Tom Gorzelanny will be moved to the bullpen….Cubs manager Lou Piniella said the Cubs plan to call up RHP Andrew Cashner sometime during the upcoming three-game series at Pittsburgh. Cashner, who was the Cubs first pick in 2008, will be used as a reliever…..The 125 pitches thrown by Dempster are his most since throwing 126 on Sept. 8, 2001, vs. the Mets, while with the Marlins. His career high is 130 on Aug. 21, 2000, at San Francisco, while with Florida.

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