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Pujols' big night extends Yankees' misery

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The New York Yankees' latest sloppy loss
prompted a tirade from Joe Torre.

Torre's first game in St. Louis since being fired as Cardinals
manager a decade ago was far from a happy homecoming. The Cardinals
began their second straight high-profile interleague series with a
strong start from Jason Marquis and a big game from Albert Pujols
in an 8-1 victory over the stumbling Yankees on Friday night.

Torre, who had been hoping a 12-3 victory at Milwaukee on
Wednesday would jump-start his team, held a closed-door meeting
after the Yankees lost for the eighth time in 10 games on a
season-high 12-game trip. He wouldn't discuss the subject matter
with the media.

"That's nobody's business," Torre said. "I'm just not very
happy. It was an ugly game. We didn't play hard enough, we didn't
do anything to help ourselves win.

"It was an embarrassing game."

Marquis (8-3) allowed a run and six hits in eight innings and
Pujols singled, doubled and homered for St. Louis, which took two
of three from the Boston Red Sox in a World Series rematch that
concluded Wednesday.

The Cardinals outscored the Red Sox 16-3 in the first two games
and dominated again Friday in front of a sellout crowd of 50,250 --
the largest crowd at Busch Stadium since a manually operated
scoreboard was installed in center field and several thousand seats
were removed in 1997.

"Right now we're just playing pretty good," Pujols said. "We
just need to make sure we stay focused and keep playing hard."

Derek Jeter's 1,800th career hit, an RBI double in the fifth,
was the lone highlight for the Yankees, who dropped two games below
.500 at 29-31. Three errors contributed to three unearned runs for
an already struggling Chien-Ming Wang, who filled in for
sore-shouldered Kevin Brown and allowed seven runs in a season-low
four innings.

The three-error game tied a season worst for the Yankees, who
now have six such games this year.

"It's just unacceptable how we've been playing," Jeter said.
"It just looks like we're going through the motions."

Asked how angry Torre was, catcher Jorge Posada said: "I would
be angry, too."

Torre managed the Cardinals from 1990-95 and played for them for
six years, and was NL MVP in 1971 when he batted a league-leading
.363. This was the Yankees' first trip to St. Louis, though, since
the 1964 World Series.

Pujols and Jim Edmonds each had two hits and drove in a run in
the first three innings, helping the Cardinals build a 7-0 lead.
St. Louis has outscored its opponents 178-108 in the first four
innings and has won 10 of 12 at home.

"I always say it's always good if you can score some runs
early, because you can take the pressure off a little bit on your
starter," Pujols said. "If you can take that first step and take
the first lead it's always good, and that's what we've been
doing."

Marquis won his third straight start and joined Chris Carpenter
as the Cardinals' eight-game winners, striking out three and
walking two. For the second straight outing, he exhibited none of
the control problems that had plagued him in three previous
appearances, when he walked 16 in 15 innings.

"Guys go through periods where they struggle a little bit and
then they come out of it," pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "He's
coming out of it."

The Yankees' fielding woes began in the first, when Wang (3-2)
made a wild pickoff throw that allowed Mark Grudzielanek to advance
two bases to third. Pujols followed with a run-scoring infield hit
despite a fine stop by Jeter in the hole at shortstop and a long
one-hop throw that was in time but handcuffed Jason Giambi at first
base.

Two more errors led to three unearned runs in the Cardinals'
five-run third. Edmonds made a wide turn on his RBI single and Alex
Rodriguez, the cutoff man at third, tried to pick him off, but
Giambi had left the bag while following Edmonds. Second baseman
Robinson Cano's two-out fielding error on Marquis' grounder allowed
two runs to score.

Edmonds and Sanders had RBI singles in the inning and another
run scored on Posada's passed ball.

Pujols hit his 15th homer to straightaway center in the sixth
off a 2-1 fastball from Paul Quantrill, a drive estimated 415
feet.

Game notes
The Yankees' three-error game was their first since May 20
at the New York Mets. ... The Cardinals are 18 games above .500,
matching their season best. ... Tony Womack, who played for the
Cardinals last year before signing a free-agent deal with the
Yankees, got a nice ovation before his first at-bat. But Tino
Martinez, who was with St. Louis in 2002 and '03, heard loud boos
from fans who used to chant his name when he pinch hit in the
fifth. Giambi also was booed. ... Randy Johnson and Mark Mulder,
who meet Saturday in the marquee pitching matchup of the series,
both have losing records against their opponent. Mulder is 4-5
against the Yankees and Johnson is 5-6 against the Cardinals.