Hitless Pujols expects to be a factor in World Series

Published October 21, 2011

| Reuters

By Steve Ginsburg

ARLINGTON, Texas (Reuters) - Albert Pujols is hitless in the World Series and committed a costly error in a Game Two loss to the Texas Rangers yet the St. Louis Cardinals slugger insists it is too early to say he is in a slump.

"I feel good," he said Friday after batting practice at Rangers Ballpark. "If you're watching my swing, it's not like I'm striking out or popping up. I'm getting some good swings.

"At least that's the way I look at it. Look at the ball I hit last night. It's part of the game. It's only six at-bats. It's a long series."

Pujols drilled a long fly to the warning track in Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Rangers but the fact remains one of baseball's top sluggers is 0-for-6 so far in the Fall Classic.

The Cards took a 1-0 lead into the ninth inning Thursday but Texas scored twice to give the Rangers a much-needed split in the first two games of the series in St. Louis.

The series moves to suburban Dallas with Game Three of the best-of-seven set for Saturday.

Pujols said Thursday's loss is already old news, noting that the Cardinals have suffered several agonizing defeats during their postseason run to the World Series.

"We've been in this situation before, obviously," said the 31-year-old Pujols, who, despite his hitless streak in the World Series, is still batting .367 in the playoffs.

"You have to just flip the page, move on. We lost a tough one against Philly, we lost a tough one against Milwaukee. And we bounced back.

"So I'm expecting ourselves to bounce back and (Game Three starter) Kyle Lohse to throw a great game tomorrow and hopefully our offense wakes up a little bit."

One of the Rangers' two ninth-inning runs Thursday was unearned after Pujols missed cutting off a throw from the outfield that allowed a baserunner to advance.

Pujols originally was not charged with an error but baseball officials changed their mind well after the game. No question, it was an error, said Pujols.

"It was a good throw. I'll make that play 99 times out of 100. There's nothing I can do but move on and get ready to play tomorrow."

Pujols, a three-time National League MVP, warned reporters not to read too much into the first two games of the series.

"If I get a good pitch to hit, I'm going to give it my best swing," he said. "Sometimes I get that pitch to hit and I miss it. It's part of the game. This is what gets you hungry every day to play the game.

"You can't hit the ball out of the ballpark every time. There's other ways to help your club out, whether it's stealing a base or making a great defensive play.

"Obviously last night I didn't help my club out in any way. It happens, you know?"

(Editing by Larry Fine)