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11/10/10 4:00 PM EST

Molina, Pujols honored with Gold Glove Awards

Cards catcher wins third straight; first baseman earns second

ST. LOUIS -- Close friends, longtime teammates and fellow core members of the Cardinals, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina are now also co-Gold Glove winners.

Molina brought home his third Rawlings Gold Glove Award, and third straight, when National League winners were announced on Wednesday afternoon. Pujols won for the second time, and the first since 2006.

"Winning the award for a third year means a lot to me," said Molina. "It's why I work hard every day to be one of the best at my position."

Managers and coaches vote on Gold Glove winners. Adam Wainwright, who was the winner at pitcher in 2009, lost out to the Reds' Bronson Arroyo. Another deserving Cardinals candidate, Brendan Ryan, finished behind Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki.

Molina led National League catchers in innings (1,138), assists (79) and percentage of runners caught stealing (44 percent). He becomes the third Cardinal to win the award three times, joining Mike Matheny and Tom Pagnozzi.

"I'll continue to work hard to be the first to win four," Molina said.

Molina is also the 19th player to win three Gold Gloves as a catcher, and the ninth to win it three times in the National League. Only Johnny Bench, Del Crandall, Charles Johnson and Matheny have more than three NL Gold Gloves.

The National League winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, with the number each has won in his career.
C Yadier Molina, Cardinals 3
1B Albert Pujols, Cardinals 2
2B Brandon Phillips, Reds 2
3B Scott Rolen, Reds 8
SS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies 1
OF Michael Bourn, Astros 2
OF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies 1
OF Shane Victorino, Phillies 3
P Bronson Arroyo, Reds 1

"He's unbelievable," pitcher Chris Carpenter said of Molina on Tuesday night. "He's like the guy in the book 'The Blind Side.' Everybody talks about the wide receivers and quarterbacks and running backs that make those great plays, but none of that happens if the lineman does not do his job. ... Yadi is the unsung hero. He does so many things behind the scenes like calling pitches and blocking balls. It's not just about throwing guys out. He's an amazingly smart catcher, and it definitely gives me an advantage having him back there."

Pujols, meanwhile, led National League first basemen in nearly every conventional defensive category, including fielding percentage (.998), total chances (1,619), assists (157), putouts (1,458) and double plays (146). He committed a career-low four errors. Pujols is the third Cardinals player to win multiple Gold Gloves at first base, joining Bill White and Keith Hernandez.

It was another strong showing in the Gold Glove voting for the Cardinals, the second straight season that they have had more than one winner. St. Louis has had multiple winners in 27 of the 54 seasons in which Gold Gloves have been presented.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.