Pujols and Heisey highlight home run fun

July, 16, 2011
7/16/11
2:06
AM ET
Albert Pujols
Pujols
Brandon Phillips hit a walk-off home run to give the Cincinnati Reds a 6-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday but Albert Pujols and Chris Heisey stole the show with their home run magic.

Pujols had a home run taken away by Heisey to end the top of the first inning, but came back to homer in the eighth inning. He’s the first player this season to have a home run robbed by the opposition and then homer later in the game.

Heisey, after his defensive gem ended the top half of the first, led off the bottom half with a home run, his third leadoff homer of the season. He homered again in the fifth inning, becoming the first player this season to rob a home run and hit two of his own in the same game.

It’s the third straight homer he’s hit off Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook and the second consecutive one that led off the game. According to Elias, the last pitcher to allow a leadoff home run in each of consecutive starts within one season, with the same batter hitting each of those homers, was Steve Trachsel in May 2000 to Rickey Henderson.

Phillips’ home run was the difference maker in the game, his second career walk-off homer and first since 2003 when he was with the Cleveland Indians. It’s the Cardinals’ eighth walk-off loss of the season, tied for third-most in the league.

Jeff Karstens
Karstens
The National League Central had more big performances outside of this game.

Jeff Karstens threw a five-hit shutout to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-0 win over the Houston Astros, the second shutout of his career and first since 2008. He threw just 83 pitches, tied for the fourth-fewest in a nine-inning shutout since 2000.

Elias tells us that Karstens is averaging 14.01 pitches per inning this season, the second-lowest average among pitchers with at least 75 innings pitched; only James Shields (13.96) is more efficient.

Karstens is 5-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his past eight starts. It's the 15th straight start that he’s allowed three earned runs or fewer -- the only time he allowed more than three was his first start of the season.

The win puts the Pirates in first place in the NL Central at 48-43, the latest into a season they’ve been in first since July 17, 1997. It's the Pirates' sixth shutout of the season which matches their total from all of last season.

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