Pujols makes first pitching appearance of career

ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina set a major league record for wins by a starting battery as the St. Louis Cardinals routed the San Francisco Giants 15-6 on Sunday night in a game that ended with veteran slugger Albert Pujols on the mound.

Molina homered and drove in four runs, Wainwright pitched six effective innings, and St. Louis roughed up Carlos Rodon early. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado each added a two-run homer for the Cardinals, who took two of three in the series after losing two of three to struggling Baltimore. Goldschmidt had three RBIs.

Pujols, the Cardinals’ designated hitter, entered to pitch for the first time in his 22-year career in the ninth inning. He gave up a three-run homer to Luis Gonzalez and a solo shot to Joey Bart but managed to get the final three outs with plenty of margin to spare.

The 42-year-old Pujols became the oldest player to make his major league pitching debut since Lena Blackburne brought himself in to pitch at age 42 in his final big league game as a player/manager for the 1929 Chicago White Sox.

Wainwright and Molina broke the major league record with their 203rd victory as a starting battery. They passed Warren Spahn and Del Crandall, who amassed 202 wins for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves from 1949 to ’63.

The St. Louis duo has started 311 games together, third all time behind Spahn/Crandall (316) and Mickey Lolich/Bill Freehan (324) of the Detroit Tigers from 1963 to ’75.

Joc Pederson had a two-run homer for San Francisco, which lost its second in a row after winning six straight.

Molina capped a four-run outburst in the first inning off Rodon (4-2) with a two-run single. The 39-year-old catcher added a two-run homer off reliever Zack Littell in the fifth to make it 11-0.

Wainwright (4-3) gave up two runs and three hits. He struck out five and walked two. The 40-year-old right-hander retired 14 of the first 15 batters he faced. Gonzalez got the Giants’ first hit with a two-out single in the fifth.

Rodon allowed eight runs and 10 hits over 3⅔ innings. He struck out three and walked one. He had given up just seven earned runs over his previous six starts this season.

Every St. Louis starter had a hit by the sixth inning.

St. Louis rookie outfielder Juan Yepez singled in the first inning. He has reached safely in each of his first 11 games, the longest streak by a Cardinals rookie since Luis Alicea reached in 23 successive games to begin his career in 1988.

The Cardinals went 0-4 in Sunday night games last year before winning in their first try this season.

Gonzalez came in from the outfield to pitch in the seventh with the bases loaded and two outs. He gave up a run-scoring single to Dylan Carlson before getting Harrison Bader to fly out.

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