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STL@LAD: Pujols jacks a solo dinger in the fifth

LOS ANGELES -- The Cardinals marched their hit parade into Los Angeles on Thursday in a 9-5 win at Dodger Stadium in front of 34,288.

Getting more than 14 hits for the fourth straight game, St. Louis had 10 different players get a hit, including Albert Pujols, who hit just his second home run of the season.

The last time a Cardinals team had 14 or more hits in four consecutive games was May 30-June 2, 1979. They got 16 hits in the opener of the four-game series against the Dodgers.

The Cardinals 3-4-5 hitters went a combined 6-for-14, led by Matt Holliday with three hits and three RBIs.

"Those guys can play with anyone," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of Pujols, Holliday and Lance Berkman. "They are students of hitting and are a tough out. That is one of our strengths.

"Some balls are falling and we are just taking good at-bats. The more success you have, the more confident you become."

The Cardinals scored early off of Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda, plating two runs in the second inning, thanks to an RBI single by Yadier Molina and a sacrifice fly from Daniel Descalso, giving St. Louis a 2-1 lead.

Tacking on another run in the third inning, Colby Rasmus hit a triple to the wall in left-center field and scored on a single to shortstop by Holliday.

Former Dodger Ryan Theriot got the Cards on the board again in the fourth inning, singling home Descalso. The inning was kept alive before Theriot's single, when third baseman Casey Blake mishandled a ball hit by pitcher Jaime Garcia.

Pujols homered in the fifth, then St Louis scored again as singles by Berkman and Skip Schumaker and two wild pitches with Molina up brought Berkman home and gave the Cardinals a 6-3 lead.

"As a team these last few games, we've had some timely hits from different guys that really have helped us score runs and take the wind out of the other team's sails," Holliday said. "We didn't swing at bad pitches and got in some hitting counts. We also had some timely hitting,"

Still not done scoring, Holliday hit a two-run double in the seventh inning, plating both Rasmus and Pujols. Molina then knocked in Holliday on his own double to left-center field.

Going 3-for-5 in the game, Holliday is batting .345 in 92 career games against the Dodgers and his 70 runs against the team in 84 games since 2005 lead the Majors.

"A club like that, you know they're going to score, it's a matter of time," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We really don't want to catch them at that time. But if we do, we have to find a way to shut them down and keep them down."

It was enough run support for starter Jamie Garcia, but he did not have the success he had over his first two starts of the season, in which he combined to allow one run on eight hits. Against the Dodgers, he got the win but allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits over five innings. Garcia is now 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA, but he entered with an ERA of 0.60.

The Dodgers hit Garcia early, when Matt Kemp stroked an RBI single to center field in the first inning, scoring Jamey Carroll. Los Angeles plated another run in the third inning, when Juan Uribe doubled home Kemp. Uribe was later thrown out at the plate by Descalso and Garcia got A.J. Ellis to ground out to third to end the inning.

"It was a battle for him those first few innings, but after that he was all right," Molina said. "It was good to see him battle that way and battle through five innings. Whenever you see a guy struggling like that, it is so important to get the lead for him." Comments