Starter Kyle Lohse pitched seven strong innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on five hits. He retired nine consecutive Pirates before Skip Schumaker’s throwing error to lead off the sixth allowed Nyjer Morgan to reach base in front of Freddy Sanchez, who homered to deep left. Lohse, who threw 108 pitches, had four strikeouts and one walk.
Molina laced a ball down the right-field line in the second inning and lumbered all of the way to third base when the ball took a quirky hop off the right-field wall. He then scored on Joe Thurston’s double to almost the exact same spot to make it 3-1, Cardinals.
Outfielder Colby Rasmus made his Major League debut, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored. After his single to right in the third for his first career hit, the ball was thrown to the dugout where pitcher Joel Pineiro appeared to toss the ball into the stands. But the ball was a fake, and the right ball was kept aside for Rasmus to have. Pujols, who was on base five times, followed Rasmus’ hit with a towering drive over the left field bullpen to put the Cardinals up, 5-1.
After a single by Rick Ankiel and a walk to Molina, Thurston added his second RBI hit of the game with a base hit up the middle that made it 6-1 before Molina was gunned down trying to advance to third.
The Cardinals added two runs in the fourth after Pirates third baseman Andy LaRoche dropped a high, but routine popup by Pujols that would have ended the inning. That put runners at second and third, and Khalil Greene followed with a two-run single up the middle that made it 8-1 and put the game out of reach.