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Cardinals pummel M's pitchers for 9 runs

by R.B. Fallstrom
| June 15, 2010 9:00 PM

ST. LOUIS - Albert Pujols has a souvenir from the St. Louis Cardinals' latest victory: a good-sized welt on the left side of his neck.

The three-time NL MVP took one off the noggin on a perfect day at the plate, stand-in cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick homered and the Cardinals beat the Seattle Mariners 9-3 on Monday night behind a reworked batting order.

"You could have written that group any way you wanted to and we would have had some runs," manager Tony La Russa said.

Pujols singled three times and walked twice as the Cardinals bounced back after totaling 19 runs during a 1-5 West Coast swing that dropped them out of the NL Central lead. Plus, he stayed in the game after a throw to the plate struck him near

the left ear flap in the fifth.

"Took it like a champ," Ludwick said in admiration.

Although Pujols' ear flap absorbed some of the impact, La Russa said the team was been worried initially.

"We kept asking, 'Are you dizzy, do you have a headache or anything? And he said 'No, no, no,"' La Russa said. "He's a tough guy, he's proven that over and over again."

Pujols said simply: "I'm all right."

Ludwick finished with four RBIs and Adam Wainwright (9-4) pitched into the eighth after a shaky start. Matt Holliday also was a success batting second for the first time in his career, getting two hits and scoring twice.

"Listen, bro, he's the head of this organization and he's the one that drives the ship," Pujols said of La Russa's batting order. "As a player, I'm happy just to be in the lineup. It doesn't matter where he puts us, you've got to perform.

"We know that we have to get it going."

The Mariners have lost six of seven, fizzling after Ichiro Suzuki hit the second pitch of the game for his 31st career leadoff homer - tying Chuck Knoblauch for 10th place. Suzuki also doubled in the eighth for his major league-leading 31st multihit game.

Suzuki was the first left-handed hitter to homer off Wainwright this season.

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