ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Albert Pujols homered and drove in four runs, leading Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals over winless Houston 5-0 Monday in their home opener and dropping the Astros to 0-7.
New batting coach Mark McGwire drew one of the biggest cheers during the pregame introductions before his first home game since retiring after the 2001 season. The Cardinals have scored five or more runs in all but one of their first seven games.
Pujols hit an RBI single and a three-run homer and Ryan Ludwick went 4 for 4. Wainwright (2-0) pitched eight scoreless innings and added his first career pickoff.
The Astros are off to their worst since opening 0-9 in 1983. They've been shut out three times while facing a string of aces -- Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Roy Halladay and Wainwright already -- and have scored a major league-low 13 runs.
Pujols got more than even with Wandy Rodriguez (0-2), one of the few pitchers who had given him fits. The three-time NL MVP got hits in his first-two at-bats against the Houston left-hander, and walked in the fifth to load the bases.
Pujols entered just 5 for 31 with no homers and only one RBI against Rodriguez, his most anemic numbers against a left-hander with a minimum of 20 at-bats.
The Cardinals certainly got a boost from the pregame pomp of the traditional introductory motorcade, including an appearance by 89-year-old Hall of Famer Stan Musial and a crowd of 46,918 -- largest at 5-year-old Busch Stadium.
Pujols is .438 (12 for 32) with three homers and 14 RBIs in 10 home openers.
Ludwick added an RBI triple in the seventh when the ball dislodged from center fielder Michael Bourn's glove when he slammed into the wall. That was plenty for Wainwright, who gave up six hits and struck out seven.
Rodriguez (0-2) allowed four runs in 4 1-3 innings, falling to 3-10 with a 4.17 ERA for his career against St. Louis. According to Cardinals statistics, none of the 21 batters he faced swung and missed.
The Cardinals opened the first with three straight singles, the last by Pujols stroked to left for the lead. The top of the order clicked again in the third with one-out singles by Skip Schumaker and Ludwick preceding Pujols' drive into the visitors' bullpen in left on a 1-0 hanging breaking ball for a 4-0 lead.
Wainwright walked one and allowed two runners into scoring position, and none after the second. He's 8-1 with a 1.72 ERA against the Astros, also throwing eight scoreless innings in his final start against Houston last season, on Aug. 25.
Bourn had two hits and a steal for the Astros, including his third infield hit of the season. Carlos Lee was 0 for 4 with a double play ball and is 3 for 27 with no RBIs on the year.
NOTES: It was the Cardinals' first shutout in the home opener since McGwire's first home opener with St. Louis, a 6-0 victory over the Dodgers on March 31, 1998. McGwire hit a grand slam off Ramon Martinez and four pitchers led by Todd Stottlemyre combined on a three-hitter. ... The Cardinals opened at home for the first time since 2006, the year new Busch opened, and ended a three-game losing streak in the home opener. ... Ludwick was 3 for 21 on the Cardinals' 4-2 trip to start the year. ... Cardinals backup C Jason LaRue (hamstring) was sore and day to day after getting hurt Sunday night in Milwaukee. ... The Astros flipped two lineup slots a few hours before game time, moving Hunter Pence to third and Pedro Feliz to sixth.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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