Pujols gets homer, love; Halos get losses

ALBERT PUJOLS homered and got an ovation Saturday but the Angels got a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals in St. Louis, their second straight defeat (Flickr/Keith Allison photo).

The people of St. Louis are welcoming back former local hero Albert Pujols with graciousness and love. The St. Louis Cardinals were nice, too, but their reaction was a little less hospitable.

With Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Halos, the Redbirds gave the Orange County team and Pujols two consecutive losses and dropped them two games under .500 after a long, tough climb to break even. It was also the Angels’ third straight defeat and settled them into a 38-40 record, still in fourth place in the American League West.

Pujols got a standing ovation on Friday ‘s first at-bat, and doubled that when he hit a home run – his 13th of the season – in the seventh inning.

“Trying to walk around the bases, getting to the plate and trying to get into the dugout and hold everything in — that was hard,” Pujols said. “It was pretty special. It’s great, but you get to the part that we lost the game, and that to me is important, too.”

Indeed. The Angels have had a habit all season of hitting a warm streak, climbing to .500 (or close to it), and tumbling back down with a cold patch.  After scoring just once a 5-1 loss Friday, they on Saturday fell behind 4-0 before rallying with single runs in the seventh and eighth to make it a bit closer. Justin Upton got the second Halo score on another home run.

The Angels will try to salvage at least one win in the series on Monday at 4:08 p.m. Pacific time. After an off-day Monday, they’ll be back in Anaheim to start a series with the Cincinnati on Tuesday.

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