Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Albert Pujols' three-run home run in the first frame off Sean Gallagher -- who was called in emergency duty -- was a sign of a long night for the home-standing Pirates, as St. Louis ripped Pittsburgh, 10-2, in the first of three games at PNC Park.
"You want to make sure you get on the board right away. I put my best swing of the night (on it)," said Pujols of the three-run shot.
Pujols had three hits and two runs scored, Matt Holliday had two hits, an RBI and two runs scored and Yadier Molina finished 3-for-5 with two runs batted in. Kyle Lohse (2-5) pitched well into the sixth, giving up two runs on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks over 5 1/3 frames for the Cardinals, who have won three straight and currently sit one game behind Philadelphia in the National League wild-card race. They sit three games behind Cincinnati, which is currently playing in San Francisco, for the top spot in the National League Central Division.
Gallagher's quick call was due to an apparent shoulder injury to starter Ross Ohlendorf (1-11), who left after failing to retire the only two hitters he faced. He was charged with two runs in the loss. The first batter Gallagher faced happened to be Pujols, who put a charge into a fastball, driving it deep into the bullpen over the left-center-field wall.
"We will know more tomorrow. He had some tightness and soreness in the back of his shoulder," Pirates manager John Russell said of Ohlendorf's injury.
Jose Tabata had three hits and Garrett Jones hit a two-run home run for the Pirates, who have dropped six of seven overall.
The top of the first frame was a house of horrors for the home team. Ohlendorf gave up the walk and single before departing with the shoulder injury, and Pujols greeted Gallagher with a long home run. Holliday then smoked a double and Felipe Lopez walked before Molina's single -- still with nobody out -- plated Holliday. Gallagher worked out of further trouble, but the Cardinals still put a four-spot on the scoreboard.
St. Louis piled on three more runs against the Pirates bullpen in the fifth. Pujols, a Pirates killer in recent seasons, began the offensive onslaught with a ground-rule double and scored on Holliday's single to left. Lopez walked again and Molina greeted new hurler Chan Ho Park with a run-scoring ground- rule double that lodged inside the gate in foul territory down the third-base line. A wild pitch later in the frame allowed Lopez to scamper home for a 7-0 advantage.
The Pirates finally lit up the scoreboard in the sixth as Neil Walker tripled past Jon Jay in center and Jones clubbed a two-run shot to right.
St. Louis got one of those runs back in the visitor's seventh as Pedro Feliz scored on Brendan Ryan's fielder's choice groundout.
The visitors then piled on and reached double digits with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth. A Molina single and a pair of walks loaded the bases with nobody out, but the Pirates retired two straight batters in an attempt to escape damage. Jay and Bryan Anderson made sure that didn't happen thanks to consecutive run-scoring singles for the final margin.
St. Louis improved to 27-31 as the visitor this season, winning its fourth straight away from home...The Cardinals are 9-4 at PNC Park since the start of last season...St. Louis has won 12 of the last 14 meetings with Pittsburgh...The Pirates scored less than three runs for the 11th time in their last 12 games...Lohse improved to 5-0 lifetime versus the Pirates...Pujols hit the 399th home run of this career and 33rd of the campaign...Jones hit his 18th home run of the season.