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Pujols held hitless as Angels beat his former team
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The on-field competition between the Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals took a momentary break when Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols stepped into the batters' box in the first inning of Tuesday's game at Angel Stadium.
He tapped Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina on the shin guards with his bat, and Molina responded with a pat to Pujols' back.
The long-anticipated reunion between Pujols and the team with which he spent 11 seasons and won two World Series championships finally ran its course. It started when Molina and Pujols spent part of Monday's off day together.
"You can't forget the time that you spent with those guys after spending the last 11 years in St. Louis and being able to win it in 2011," Pujols said. "I stay in touch with them. It's something very special, and it's not something that anyone can take away."
While the Cardinals pitchers won Tuesday's battle against Pujols -- he went hitless in three at-bats with a walk -- the Angels won the first game of the series, 5-1.
"Albert is a great human being," said Molina, who was mentored by Pujols when the two played together in St. Louis. "He's a great leader, a great teammate and a great person. There is no doubt he helped me a lot.
"He was my teammate, my brother for many years. But now he's on the other side, and we're going to try to win games."
The Angels didn't break out the big bats against St. Louis starter Lance Lynn but they did enough damage against him.
The Angels turned six singles and an error into a five-run second inning, and that was plenty of offense on this night.
Lynn (10-3) picked up his second consecutive loss after winning 10 of his first 11 decisions this season.
Though Lynn was billed as one of the Cardinals' pleasant surprises to the season, his impressive record featured some badly needed help. In four of his previous starts, Lynn allowed at least four runs but escaped with either a no-decision or with a win. Lately, he's been stymied by one disastrous inning.
"That's baseball," he said. "That's part of it. Singles seem to be hurting me. You make your pitches, you can't control the rest. They put it in play. Sometimes (the ball) gets through and sometimes it doesn't. I made my pitches. They just hit them.
"If they're hitting doubles in the gap, I'm going to worry about it, but ground balls and base hits are going to happen. They just happened in a bunch real quick."
The Cardinals' offense failed to come to his defense Tuesday, thanks to the efforts of Jered Weaver, who had lost his previous three decisions.
Weaver (2-4) scattered six hits in seven innings. He struck out five without walking a batter.
The Cardinals threatened by loading the bases with no outs in the eighth inning, but Scott Downs retired the side by striking out Matt Adams and getting David Freese to hit into a double play. Mark Trumbo made a diving stop at first base to stop Freese's sharply hit grounder and start the twin-killing.
"Mark's made some really good plays for us," manager Mike Scioscia said. "But the situation being what it was, I mean, the ball was a rocket to his backhand. And to be able to turn a double play on that was impressive. Mark got the play started, and Erick (Aybar) made an equally tough play to turn it and hit a moving target like Scotty Downs."
Dane De La Rosa pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the Angels' win.
The outcome was decided in the second inning.
Josh Hamilton, Howie Kendrick, Trumbo and Alberto Callaspo opened the inning with singles. One out later, Aybar and J.B. Shuck followed with singles, and Mike Trout reached on an error by second baseman Matt Carpenter.
By the time Lynn struck out Albert Pujols and Hamilton to end the inning, the Angels' lead had grown to five runs.
The only blemish against Weaver was a fourth-inning RBI grounder by Freese that scored Allen Craig.
NOTES: Cardinals LF Matt Holliday was scratched from the lineup after his back and neck stiffened before batting practice. ... CF Jon Jay has a 225-game errorless streak, one game shy of the Cardinals' outfield record held by Curt Flood. ... Angels RHP Ryan Madson (right elbow) threw off a mound and could be looking at a rehab assignment in Arizona in the near future. Scioscia said there is no timetable for Madson's return to the big leagues. ... The Angels placed OF Peter Bourjos on the disabled list, retroactive to June 30, with a broken right wrist. OF Collin Cowgill was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake.