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Cardinals rally to beat Diamondbacks 7-6

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Albert Pujols tied it in the eighth inning with his first home run since returning from the disabled list and rookie pinchhitter Tony Cruz hit a game-ending RBI double in the ninth, capping the St. Louis Cardinals’ comeback from a four-run deficit in a 7-6 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.

Pujols’ 18th homer, and first in five games back from a broken left wrist, was a two-run shot off Yhency Brazoban that tied it at 6. Pujols was 3-for-4 with a walk and three RBI, a breakout game after going 1-for-12 his first four games back.

Cruz’s first hit in six pinch-hit at-bats came off Joe Paterson (0-3), who gave up two hits and a walk. It’s the biggest comeback of the season for the Cardinals, who lost three of their first four with Pujols and dropped out of the NL Central lead. They won despite stranding 12 runners.

Diamondbacks starter Daniel Hudson had two hits and two RBI, and leads pitchers with nine RBI while batting .333. But Hudson faded on the mound, allowing three hits, a walk and a flyout at the wall, and failed to retire any of the three batters he faced in the sixth.

Arizona committed two fielding errors in the eighth, one of them allowing a run after center fielder Eric Young fumbled the ball after catching a flyout.

Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter had only one perfect inning, aided by a double-play ball in the first, and gave up four earned runs in six innings. He was not as sharp as in three previous starts, all victories while allowing only two runs in 24 innings.

Lance Berkman singled to start the ninth and Yadier Molina walked with one out ahead of Cruz’s winner. Fernando Salas (5-2) worked a scoreless ninth with one strikeout.

Hudson had a two-run single in a three-run second, Young had an RBI double in the third and Kelly Johnson’s RBI double made it 5-1 in the sixth.

Ninth-place hitter Skip Schumaker had three hits, including RBI singles his last two trips, for St. Louis.

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