ST. LOUIS (AP) — Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, Jack Flaherty allowed one run in six innings and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 on Friday night.
Pujols mashed a slider from Johan Oveido 398 feet to left field in the fourth inning, his 22nd homer of the season.
In his first game against his former teammate, Oviedo became the 456th different pitcher Pujols has homered against. Pujols hadn’t homered in a week since hitting Nos. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday.
After a lengthy standing ovation, Pujols came out of the dugout and tipped his cap to the sellout crowd.
Oviedo (4-3) allowed two runs on six hits while striking out four. The Cardinals traded him and infielder Malcom Nunez to the Pirates on Aug. 1. The deal brought starter Jose Quintana and reliever Chris Stratton to St. Louis.
Flaherty (2-1) gave up four hits, struck out six and walked two in his fifth start since returning from a right shoulder injury that sidelined him most of the season.
The right-hander improved to 9-1 with a 2.60 ERA in 14 career starts against the Pirates.
Nolan Arenado put the Cardinals in front in the fifth inning with a single that dropped just in front of right fielder Jack Suwinski to score Brendan Donovan.
Ji Hwan Bae drove in the Pirates’ only run with a bunt single past Flaherty to score Ben Gamel in the fourth.
Ryan Helsley pitched a scoreless ninth for his 19th save in 23 opportunities.
Pujols’ homer was his 55th against the Pirates, his third-most against any team, trailing Houston (70) and the Chicago Cubs (62).
Before the game, the slugger was recognized for hitting his 700th last week at Los Angeles. He was given a gold-plated, engraved bat by owner Bill DeWitt Jr., team president Bill DeWitt III and manager Oliver Marmol.
Pirates: INF/OF Tucupita Marcano, RHP Nick Mears and RHP Junior Fernandez were added to the taxi squad. INF Michael Chavis and OF Greg Allen cleared waivers and were outrighted to the minor leagues.
Cardinals: RHP Jordan Hicks (right arm fatigue/right neck spasm) threw off a mound Friday and if he responds well, he will do the same on Sunday. … OF Tyler O’Neill (left hamstring strain) ran in the outfield and Marmol said he’d like to see O’Neill face live pitching before making a decision on whether to activate him for the playoffs.
RHP Luis Ortiz (0-1, 1.17 ERA) starts for Pittsburgh and LHP Jordan Montgomery (8-6, 3.50 ERA) goes for St. Louis as the series continues on Saturday.