Cardinals 4, Royals 2

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2 on Saturday night.

Pujols, who attended Fort Osage High School just a few miles from Kauffman Stadium, leads the majors with 21 home runs and 53 RBIs. Pujols hit the first pitch from reliever Ambiorix Burgos over the center-field fence after David Eckstein walked and Scott Spiezio singled.

Pujols, who hit a two-run homer on Friday in St. Louis’ 9-6 victory, entered the series in an 0-for-12 skid.

The Cardinals continued their dominance of their cross-state rivals, winning for the ninth time in the past 10 meetings. Kansas City has lost eight straight and dropped to 10-30, the worst record in franchise history after 40 games.

Anthony Reyes (1-0), just promoted from Triple-A Memphis and making his second major league start, held the Royals to four singles over 5 2-3 scoreless innings to earn the win. He walked one and struck out one.

Reyes, a 24-year-old right-hander who was a 15th-round draft pick in 2003 out of Southern California, made his major league debut last Aug. 9 and beat Milwaukee.

Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his 14th save in 16 opportunities.

Denny Bautista (0-2), making his third start since coming off the disabled list with a strained pectoral muscle, gave up just one run and five hits in six innings. He struck out three, walked none and hit a batter, throwing 61 strikes in 100 pitches.

Scott Rolen led off the St. Louis fourth with a single to center. He stole second, advanced to third on catcher John Buck’s throwing error, and scored on Juan Encarnacion’s double.

The Royals scored two runs in the eighth to break a 13-inning scoreless drought. Andres Blanco led off the inning with a bunt single and stopped at second on Esteban German’s pinch single. Mark Grudzielanek singled off left-hander Randy Flores to score Blanco.

Reggie Sanders doubled to left to score German, but shortstop David Eckstein threw out Grudzielanek, who ran past threw third base coach Luis Silverio’s stop sign, at the plate.

Notes: Royals SS Angel Berroa, who has struck out 29 times while drawing only one walk and has eight extra-base hits in 143 at-bats, did not start for the first time this season. Blanco, who was called up Friday from Triple-A Omaha, started instead. … Rolen was hit by pitches in back-to-back plate appearances. RHP Mike Wood hit Rolen in the ninth inning Friday, and Rolen was plunked leading off the second inning Saturday by Bautista. … The Cardinals optioned RHP Brian Falkenborg to Memphis to make room for Reyes. …The game was the Royals’ second sellout of the season with a crowd of 40,516. Only the opening day attendance of 41,054 was larger.

AP-ES-05-20-06 2215EDT

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