By The Associated Press
CINCINNATI — Albert Pujols is looking awfully healthy these days.
The former MVP hit a three-run homer — his second in two days — and Chris Carpenter stymied the NL’s most prolific offense again, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night.
Pujols connected in the fifth inning off Bronson Arroyo (7-8), who gives up the most homers in the NL. It was Pujols’ 20th homer overall and his third since returning from a broken left wrist that cost him only two weeks.
“At the end of the season, he’s going to be somewhere near his career averages for everything,” manager Tony La Russa said. “The only thing is he missed two weeks, so he might have a little less of this or that. But he’s the Albert he’s been the last 10 years.”
Carpenter (5-7) improved to 14-4 career against the Reds. His grittiest moment came in the eighth, when the Cardinals committed a pair of errors to leave runners on second and third with two outs. Carpenter fanned Chris Heisey on a slow breaking ball then pumped his arms in celebration.