Albert Pujols hit his 695th career homer, a two-run blast in the eighth inning, to lift the St. Louis Cardinals past the visiting Chicago Cubs 2-0 on Sunday.
Pujols’ homer carried 429 feet over the left field bullpen. He is now one behind Alex Rodriguez (696) for fourth-place on baseball’s all-time home-run list.
Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas (11-10) blanked the Cubs for eight innings on two hits. He struck out three and walked one.
Ryan Helsley closed out the game for his 13th save as the Cardinals won for the seventh time in their last eight games.
Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman threw seven scoreless innings while holding the Cardinals to four hits. He struck out five batters and walked nobody.
Brandon Hughes (2-2) relieved Stroman for the eighth inning and allowed Pujols’ homer.
After rain delayed the start of the game for 1 hour and 28 minutes, the teams settled into a pitching duel.
Franmil Reyes hit a two-out double in the first inning, but Mikolas retired Ian Happ on a groundout to end the threat.
Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-out double in the bottom of the inning, but Nolan Arenado popped out to leave him there.
Corey Dickerson reached on an error leading off the second inning and went to third base on Nolan Gorman’s one-out single. Then he got thrown out trying to score on Andrew Knizner’s groundout.
The Cardinals missed additional scoring opportunity in the third and fourth innings. In the third, Tommy Edman led off with an infield single and reached second base before Goldschmidt struck out to end the inning.
In the fourth, Dickerson hit a one-out double in the fourth inning before Stroman struck out Tyler O’Neill and Gorman to strand him.
Stroman settled in and retired 11 consecutive batters. Meanwhile Mikolas retired eight straight batters after allowing Christopher Morel’s sixth-inning one-out single.
Edman hit a one-out double off Hughes in the eighth inning, setting the stage for Pujols’ seventh career pinch-hit homer.