ST. LOUIS - Albert Pujols hit his fifth home run in five games - and the longest homer at Busch Stadium this season - and Adam Wainwright worked seven strong innings to help the St. Louis Cardinals rout the Detroit Tigers and ace Justin Verlander 11-2 last night.
Pujols also drew his major league-leading 19th and 20th intentional walks in only semi-threatening situations before lining his 23rd homer an estimated 446 feet over the left field wall off Ryan Perry to start the sixth. Chris Duncan followed with a 418-foot shot that gave the light-hitting Cardinals back-to-back homers for the first time all season.
Verlander (7-3) lasted four innings in the Tigers' first game in St. Louis since losing the clinching Game 5 of the 2006 World Series.
Verlander had been 7-0 with a 1.10 ERA over nine starts before running into trouble against a team that had scored three or fewer runs in 10 of its previous 15 games.
The Cardinals scored four in the first inning, including Yadier Molina's two-out bases-loaded single, and piled on against relievers Nate Robertson and Perry. Verlander gave up five runs on eight hits for his first loss since April 17 at Seattle, dropping him to 8-1 with a 2.80 ERA in 11 career interleague starts.
Brandon Inge and Miguel Cabrera homered after the game was out of hand for the Tigers, who have lost four of five. Detroit had won five of six interleague games against the Cardinals, all at home, before yesterday.
Pujols has been the lone threat for St. Louis and is the only player in the majors with intentional walks in double figures. Duncan, who entered with a .182 average in the cleanup slot, also singled and scored twice.
Wainwright (7-4) allowed a run on six hits in seven innings in only his second regular-season appearance against the Tigers and first since striking out Inge for the final out in the '06 World Series. His toughest inning was the first when he got Inge on a pop fly with the bases loaded for the third out, and he later retired 10 of 11 hitters.
The Tigers caught two runners napping on the basepaths in the third. Rick Ankiel was out on an aborted steal attempt in a rundown between second and third and Molina, who advanced to second on that play, was picked off.