Pujols homers twice, Mikolas shuts down Brewers as Cardinals remain in first place

ST. LOUIS — For the first time in 11 years, Albert Pujols homered twice at Busch Stadium.

The future Hall of Famer hit two of the St. Louis Cardinals’ four home runs on Sunday afternoon to win the teams’ National League Central Division rubber match, 6-3.

Pujols, who will be retiring after this season’s swan song in St. Louis, homered in the second inning and then put the game out of reach with a three-run shot off Taylor Rogers in the eighth. Tyler O’Neill and Dylan Carlson also went deep. Rogers, one of the top relievers in all of baseball, was shaken up in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Hunter Renfroe‘s second-inning homer off Miles Mikolas and Rowdy Tellez‘s ninth-inning homer off Ryan Helsley accounted for the Brewers’ lone tallies as the loss once again puts them 1 ½ games behind the Cardinals in the standings.

It was a terrific pitching day by both teams as the game headed into the eighth inning.

Mikolas had retired 20 of 22 batters since allowing Renfroe’s homer in the second, following a three-strikeout seventh turned in by the Brewers’ Matt Bush.

Rogers (1-6), appearing in consecutive games for the first time with Milwaukee, opened his outing by striking out Lars Nootbaar. But on the very next pitch, Carlson homered just over the wall in left to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game.

Helsley entered in the ninth for St. Louis, and aside from allowing a solo home run, shut down Milwaukee the rest of the way.

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