Tomko wins first game at Busch

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A milestone game for Albert Pujols helped the
St. Louis Cardinals avoid a sweep.

Pujols reached 100 RBI, scored his 100th run and extended his
hitting streak to 21 games in a 3-0 victory over the Florida
Marlins on Thursday night.

"It's good to get it and it shows what I've accomplished, but
it's more important that we won," Pujols said. "We avoided a
sweep and that's real big for us."

Brett Tomko pitched shutout ball into the ninth as the Cardinals
ended a three-game losing streak.

The Marlins have won nine of 12, and held St. Louis to six runs
in the series.

"We took two of three and I'm happy," manager Jack McKeon
said. "We came in with the idea of winning the series and we did

Pujols is 33-for-82 (.402) during his hitting streak, the team's
longest in four seasons, to raise his average to a major
league-leading .372. He joined Jose Canseco as the only players to
begin their careers with 30 homers and 100 RBI in the first three

"He did it like he usually does it," manager Tony La Russa
said. "He got us on the board in the first inning."

Tomko (8-7) won for the first time in five decisions at home,
although he's pitched a lot better at Busch Stadium than on the
road. He has a 3.30 ERA in 11 home starts and is 7-3 with a 7.53
ERA in 13 road games, 12 of them starts.

Tomko has allowed more hits and runs than any NL pitcher. But he
held the Marlins hitless until Mike Lowell singled to start the
fifth and left after giving up his fourth hit to open the ninth.
Tomko struck out five and walked one to move above .500 for the
first time this season.

"Personally, I finally showed up for the season, it felt
like," Tomko said. "The front office traded for me to get games
like this, and I haven't provided it."

Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his ninth save in 10
chances, completing the Cardinals' fifth shutout. The Marlins have
been blanked four times.

Pujols' RBI double in the first off Josh Beckett (5-6) gave the
Cardinals the lead. St. Louis added two runs in the sixth on an RBI
single by Scott Rolen and the alert baserunning of Bo Hart.

Hart made it 2-0 when he scored from second on Tino Martinez's
fly out, capitalizing on Pujols' baserunning mistake. Hart advanced
to third on the flyout and Pujols tried to move up a base also but
got caught in a rundown.

Hart sprinted home and barely beat the relay to the plate from
first baseman Andy Fox with a headfirst slide.

"He had an All-Star type game," La Russa said, also noting a
double play Hart turned by tagging Juan Pierre in the sixth.

Beckett lasted 5 2-3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits
with two strikeouts and three walks. In his previous three starts
he'd been dominant, allowing three runs in 21 innings with 25

"I couldn't locate anything," Beckett said. "You can't win
many games with that kind of stuff."

Game notes
Pujols' streak is the Cardinals' longest since Joe McEwing
hit in 25 straight in 1999. Pujols has three streaks of 10 or more
games this year and eight in his three-year career. ... The Marlins
haven't swept a three-game series against the Cardinals since Aug.
27-29, 1996, in St. Louis. ... Juan Encarnacion, 5-for-8 the first
two games of the series, was hitless in four at-bats for Florida.
... The Marlins' bullpen has thrown 22 2-3 scoreless innings since
July 26. ... Tomko is 4-0 lifetime against the Marlins.