Reds Vs. Cardinals: Cards Lose 9-8 In 13 Innings In Albert Pujols' Return

Pinch-hitter Ramon Hernandez lined the go- ahead RBI ground-rule double in the 13th inning, as Cincinnati overcame blowing an eight-run advantage to beat the Cardinals, 9-8, spoiling the return of Albert Pujols to the St. Louis lineup.

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Reds Vs. Cardinals: Cincinnati Wins In 13th, Spoil Albert Pujols' Return, Cards' Comeback Bid

The Cincinnati Reds dodged a furious comeback by the St. Louis Cardinals in Albert Pujols’ first start since returning to the disabled list, as the Reds won 9-8 on Ramon Hernandez’s RBI double in the 13th inning.

Pujols played the entire game and went 1-for-6.

The Reds scored five runs in the first inning off Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook, including homers by Chris Heisey and Jay Bruce and a two-run triple by Brandon Phillips. They then tacked on three more runs in the middle innings on homers by Fred Lewis and Scott Rolen.

The Cardinals scored two runs in the sixth and five in the seventh, though, with the last of those coming on an RBI single by Pujols. Jon Jay then tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with a solo shot.

The two teams then traded zeroes until the 13th inning, when Bruce walked, Drew Stubbs singled, and Ramon Hernandez hit a ground-rule double off Raul Valdez. The Reds left the bases loaded when Paul Janish struck out, but one run was good enough, as the Cardinals couldn’t get to Aroldis Champan in the bottom of the inning.


Reds Vs. Cardinals: Cardinals Storm Back, 8-8, Send Game Into Extra Innings

Led by the return of Albert Pujols, the St. Louis Cardinals turned their once-bleak matchup against the Cincinnati Reds into a nail-biter, 8-8, sending the game into extra innings.

St. Louis stormed back from an early 8-0 deficit, scoring eight straight runs to tie the game. Aided by All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday's monstrous seventh inning blast to deep center field, and Daniel Descalso's two RBI's, the Cardinals put together a stunning late-inning comeback that was capped by Jon Jay's massive game-tying homerun in the ninth inning off Cincinnati closer Francisco Cordero. The blown save was Cordero's third of the season.

Pujols is 1-5 thus far in the game, struggling early before knocking in a seventh inning RBI single that narrowed the deficit to one run. It is the star first basemen's first appearance in the Cardinals' lineup since breaking his left wrist in a June 19th collision.

Thus far, thirteen pitchers have seen action, an astonishing number for a game that seemed to be over after the first inning.


Reds Vs. Cardinals Score: Pujols 0-3 In Return, Reds Push Lead To 8-2

The route is on for the Cincinnati Reds, as they lead St. Louis 8-2 after six innings. Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook was chased out of the game following a shaky four-and-a-third innings of work. The righthander gave up seven runs off eight hits, three of which were homeruns.

Cincinnati's Fred Lewis tacked onto the early lead in the top of the fourth, crushing a shot to deep center field. Third basemen Scott Rolen quickly followed suit with a two-run blast of his own in the fifth inning to push the Cincinnati lead to eight.  The homeruns were Lewis' second, and Rolen's fifth of the year.

Albert Pujols is now 0-3 on the day, after grounding out to shortstop to end the bottom of the fourth, and grounding into a fielder's choice to end the Cardinals' mini-rally in bottom of the sixth. Daniel Descalso and Tony Cruz both scored to close the St. Louis deficit to six.

Despite the speed bump, Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo is rolling, having thrown six innings of three-hit, two-run ball. Barring a tremendous comeback, this will be the 34-year old's 8th win of the season. 


Reds Vs. Cardinals Score: Albert Pujols 0-1, Reds Dominating Cardinals 5-0

Albert Pujols' return to the St. Louis lineup did not have the desired effect that manager Tony LaRussa was hoping for. After three inning, the Cardinals are down 5-0 to Cincinnati thanks to a first inning offensive explosion by the top of the Reds' lineup.

Outfielder Chris Heisey kicked things off strong for Cincinnati, blasting a rare lead-off inside the park homerun to deep left field off St. Louis' Jake Westbrook. Edgar Renteria and Joey Votto would follow that up with a single and a walk to put runners on first and second with no one out. Brandon Phillips then came up and smashed a two-run triple to right field to blow open the game. Jay Bruce finished off the run with a homer to deep right field.

Albert Pujols is currently 0-1 in the game. In his first at-bat in 17 days, he lined out to right to end the bottom of the first inning.

Bronson Arroyo has pitched three scoreless innings for the Reds. 

For more on Albert Pujol's return head over to SB Nation's Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos. To read more about the Cincinnati Reds check out the Red Reporter.


Reds Vs. Cardinals: Albert Pujols Makes First Start After Returning From DL

St. Louis had always hoped that Albert Pujols would make a speedy return to the starting lineup. They just couldn't have expected it to come this early.

Just 17 days after breaking his left wrist in a collision at first base -- an injury that was supposed to sideline him for six weeks -- Pujols will return to the starting lineup for the Cardinals' primetime Wednesday night showdown against the Cincinnati Reds (43-44). The first basemen was activated yesterday afternoon, but was unneeded after the Cardinals quickly ran the score up on their divisional rivals.

St. Louis (47-40) will send righthander Jake Westbrook (7-4, 4.92) to the mound, fresh off a spectacular performance against Tampa Bay in which he allowed a season-low two hits over seven scoreless innings while striking out seven. Westbrook has fared well against Cincinnati in the past, amassing a 2-1 record with a 3.23 ERA over five career starts.

Cincinnati will counter with 12-year veteran Bronson Arroyo (7-7, 5.49 ERA). The righthander is coming off a horrendous start against Cleveland in which he gave up eight runs over four-and-two-thirds innings. Arroyo's last performance against St. Louis came on May 13th, as he pitched six innings of three run ball to pace the Cincinnati win.

For more on Albert Pujol's return head over to SB Nation's Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos. To read more about the Cincinnati Reds check out the Red Reporter.

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