ST. LOUIS – Albert Pujols became the fastest player in major league history to reach 19 home runs, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 9-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.

Pujols reached the milestone in his 37th game, beating Mickey Mantle in 1956 and Luis Gonzalez of the Diamondbacks in 2001, by three games. Pujols added RBI singles in the first and fourth, hiking his major league-leading total to 47, and flied out to the warning track in center field in the sixth.

He also struck out with the bases loaded to end the seventh against Brandon Medders, flipping his bat in disgust.

Pujols’ heroics overshadowed a resurgent effort by Jason Marquis, who worked seven strong innings to end a four-game losing streak, and a five-RBI game by Scott Rolen. The RBIs for Rolen, including a three-run homer in the first, were his first since April 16.

The Cardinals have won seven of eight overall and are 14-3 against the Diamondbacks the last four seasons. They knocked out Claudio Vargas (4-2), who did not allow a run in his first two road starts, after beginning the third with three straight hits.

Pujols lined a 1-0 pitch from Vargas well over the left-field wall in the second inning, a drive estimated at 404 feet, to give St. Louis a 5-1 lead. Mantle finished with 52 homers in 1956 and Gonzalez, who watched in left field as the ball soared over his head, had 57 in 2001.

Pujols, whose best homer total is 46 in 2004, was the second-fastest to reach 18 homers when he connected off the Rockies’ Byung-Hyun Kim in the Cardinals’ 35th game. He trailed only Cy Williams of the Philadelphia Phillies, who did it in 34 games in 1923 but then slowed considerably in a 41-homer season.

Marquis (4-4) allowed one run on three hits with four walks and one strikeout. The only blemish came on Conor Jackson’s fourth homer leading off the second, which extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

The right-hander worked around two walks in the third when he caught Jackson looking at strike three.

Rolen’s homer in a four-run first was his fourth, and first since April 16, and he added a two-run double in a four-run fifth that put the Cardinals ahead 9-1. He missed nine games due to a respiratory illness in late April and early May and had been struggling with his stroke since returning.

David Eckstein was 2-for-4, making him 10-for-20 in his last five games, and John Rodriguez had three hits and scored twice.

Vargas won his previous three starts, allowing only two runs in 20 innings, and had been 6-0 in his last seven road outings overall dating to last season. In three-plus innings he gave up eight runs on eight hits.

The Diamondbacks have lost four of five following a seven-game winning streak.

Notes: Pujols has 220 homers with the Cardinals, tied with Mark McGwire for fourth on the team’s career list. … The Cardinals are 16-5 at new Busch Stadium, all of them sellouts. … Marquis beat the Diamondbacks for the first time in three career decisions and now has a victory over every NL team except the Braves. … Eckstein leads the NL with 16 multihit games. … Shawn Green had two hits and is batting .439 (29-for-66) in his last 17 games with 10 multihit games in that stretch.

AP-ES-05-13-06 2204EDT