Kansas City (28-42) at St. Louis (30-36)
Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals' offense are suddenly surging. It's not good news for the Kansas City Royals.
Pujols looks to continue his dominance against the Royals when the state rivals open a three-game series at Busch Stadium on Monday night.
The defending World Series champion Cardinals (30-36) have scored the fourth-fewest runs in the majors (286), but their bats were hot against baseball's second-best pitching staff over the weekend.
After winning 15-6 on Saturday, St. Louis beat Oakland 10-6 the next day to win its first interleague series in four tries this season. It's the most runs the Cardinals have scored in consecutive games this season.
"It's big for us," said Ryan Ludwick who hit a go-ahead, three-run homer and drove in a career-high five runs. "Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling."
Pujols is batting .393 (11-for-28) with three homers and 10 RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak, and has enjoyed plenty of success against Kansas City (28-42) in his career.
Pujols, who went to high school in Independence, Mo., just a few miles from Kauffman Stadium, is batting .398 - his highest average against any opponent he has played at least 10 times - with 10 home runs, 11 doubles and 36 RBIs in 30 career games against the Royals. He went 5-for-13 against Kansas City last week, but the Cardinals lost two of three games.
The St. Louis slugger had two singles and three RBIs against Monday's starter Odalis Perez (3-7, 6.19 ERA) last week, and is batting a robust .684 (13-for-19) with five homers, two doubles and 15 RBIs against him.
Adam Wainwright (5-5, 4.66 ERA) takes the mound for the Cardinals on Monday for the first time since shutting down the Royals his last time out.
Wainwright took a no-hitter into the sixth Wednesday, before Esteban German broke it up with a two-out single. The right-hander gave up just that hit and two walks while striking out three in eight shutout innings of a 7-3 victory in his first career start against Kansas City.
"He showed what he was capable of doing," manager Tony La Russa told the team's official Web site. "He attacked with many different pitches and every part of the strike zone with different stuff. He can be very special."
Perez opposed Wainwright last Wednesday, yielding seven runs and 10 hits in only three innings against the Cardinals, who have made a habit of knocking him around.
Perez has allowed at least four runs in each of his seven career starts against St. Louis, going 2-3 with a 8.91 ERA in those games. The left-hander has been tagged for 10 runs in 8 1-3 innings in his last three games at St. Louis.
His troubles aren't just limited to the Cardinals, though, as he is 1-3 with a 7.92 ERA in his last five games. He has just one win since April 30.
Kansas City defeated Florida 5-4 on Sunday, to win its third straight series. The Royals have not won four straight series since June 13-26, 2003.
"The most important thing that we have to continue to do is win series," Sunday's winning pitcher Brian Bannister told the team's official Web site.
The Royals are an impressive 8-4 in interleague play this season, as right fielder Mark Teahen is batting .340 (16-for-47) with 12 RBIs against the NL this season. Teahen was 6-for-13 with three triples and seven RBIs against the Cardinals last week.
Updated on Sun
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