The St. Louis Cardinals' brief regional nightmare is over: Albert Pujols made his return to the starting lineup Wednesday after missing most of the series opener with a hamstring injury, going 1-4 with an RBI and a walk in the Cardinals' 6-5 win over the Houston Astros. Pujols had injured the hamstring running out a ground ball in the last game of the team's series with the Cincinnati Reds.
Removed from Tuesday's lineup for what were described as "precautionary" reasons, Pujols is unlikely to miss any further time with the injury, which the Cardinals have been almost glib about in the meantime; he ran at full-speed Wednesday and made an impressive diving grab on a groundball in the early going, so he certainly seems no more affected by his general gimpiness than usual.
After an early slump, Pujols has improved his seasonal line to .250/.317/.489. His seven home runs rank him second in the National League, and leave him on pace for 47, which would not be such a bad down year.