Series: Game 3 of 3

St. Louis won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, August 29
St. Louis5Final
Game 2: Saturday, August 30
St. Louis6Final
Game 3: Sunday, August 31
St. Louis5Final

Cardinals 5

(72-64, 32-36 away)

Reds 0

(59-77, 31-40 home)

    12:35 PM ET, August 31, 2003

    Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio 

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    STL 000002030 5 8 1
    CIN 000000000 0 4 0

    W: S. Hitchcock (3-3)

    L: D. Serafini (0-2)

    Hitchcock allows three hits in Cardinals debut

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- Albert Pujols picked up on Sunday where Jim Edmonds left off the night before.

    Pujols homered twice and tied a career high with five RBI, and Sterling Hitchcock threw six shutout innings in the St. Louis Cardinals' 5-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

    "It went from the Edmonds show to the Pujols show," Reds manager Dave Miley said.

    Edmonds didn't start Sunday after driving in four runs and saving two with a circus catch on Saturday.

    Pujols has 37 homers this season, and 108 for his career to move past Joe DiMaggio for third place on the list for most homers in a player's first three years.

    "I'm not thinking about that now," Pujols said. "After the season's over, I'll look back at it, but September's going to be a tough month. I need to finish strong. We need to finish strong."

    Hitchcock (2-0) allowed three hits, walked one and struck out four in his second appearance and first start for the Cardinals, who won for the fourth time in five games.

    "Hitchcock kept us off balance," Miley said. "We had a couple of opportunities, but we couldn't get the two-out hit."

    With the win, the Cardinals guaranteed that they would at least share first place with Houston in the NL Central heading into a five-game series with the third-place Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field starting Monday.

    Hitchcock, making his second start of the season and first since being traded from the New York Yankees on August 22, retired the first 10 batters he faced before Ray Olmedo singled to left with one out in the fourth.

    "He threw six great innings for us, and we're not struggling with the bullpen like we were earlier in the year," Pujols said. "All our starters have to do now is throw six good innings."

    Cal Eldred, Steve Kline and Russ Springer each pitched one inning of scoreless relief to complete the shutout.

    The Reds (59-77) have lost seven of their last eight, including six of seven on the homestand.

    Danny Serafini (0-2), who made his second start since signing with Cincinnati out of the Mexican League, allowed two runs, four hits and three walks while striking out three Cardinals in six innings.

    Miguel Cairo led off the sixth with a single to center. Pujols followed with his 36th homer -- the first ball to bounce off the roof of the batter's eye building in center field and reach the concourse behind it at Great American Ball Park. The homer traveled an estimated 477 feet.

    "As long as they go out, I'll take it," Pujols said. "It doesn't matter to me how far they go."

    Pujols followed back-to-back singles by Bo Hart and Cairo with a line drive into the Reds' bullpen in left-center field off of Danny Graves in the eighth. He tied his career high for homers, set in 2001 -- when he won the NL Rookie of the Year award.

    "That pitch was 2 feet off the ground," Miley said. "Most hitters who swing at the pitch would probably ground into a double play."

    Serafini, who left the team for four days with permission to attend to family matters after starting last Tuesday, gave up three walks in the first two innings but didn't allow a hit until Cairo's broken-bat double down the right-field line with two outs in the third.

    "I've got to quit giving up home runs," Serafini said. "My last game, I gave up two. This time, I gave up one big one."

    Game notes

    The win was the second straight for St. Louis at Great American Ball Park after five consecutive losses. ... St. Louis started all right-handers against the left-handed Serafini. ... Edmonds struck out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and stayed in. ... Serafini threw 30 pitches in the first, including a combined eight with two strikes that were fouled off by Pujols and Rolen, and 25 in the second. ... The Cardinals earned their fourth consecutive series win since being swept in a three-game series at Philadelphia on Aug. 15-17. ... St. Louis moved a season-high eight games over .500 in its fourth try.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press