Anaheim, CA – Albert Pujols' go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning proved to be the difference-maker in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the opener of a brief two-game interleague series at Angel Stadium.
Howie Kendrick drove in one run, while Pujols also provided a sacrifice fly for the Angels, who entered the game after being swept in a four-game series by the lowly Houston Astros.
Robert Coello (2-1) earned the win after tossing a scoreless eighth inning.
Pujols, who last homered on May 23, went deep off Carlos Villanueva (1-4), who was charged with the loss. Ryan Sweeney, Nate Schierholtz and Alfonso Soriano all drove in one run apiece for the Cubs, losers of three straight.
"I got too much of the plate and that was it," Villanueva said of his pitch to Pujols. "He did what he was supposed to do. He hit it in the seats."
Chicago starter Scott Feldman allowed two runs on six hits over six innings, and has now allowed two or fewer earned runs in nine of his 11 starts in his first season with the club. Still, it wasn't enough.
Los Angeles starter Jered Weaver, making his second start since returning from a fractured left elbow, surrendered three runs -- one earned -- on six hits over six frames.
Trailing 3-2 entering the eighth, Erick Aybar provided the Angels a spark by leading off with a single, then alertly hustled to second on Mike Trout's deep flyout.
Pujols brought the crowd to its feet as he launched the go-ahead two-run homer to left, putting the hosts in front for good.
"I knew it was out of the park as soon as I hit it," Pujols recalled. "I'm sure (Villanueva) wanted to get it inside, but he left it up and in the middle and I put a good swing on it."
Ernesto Frieri worked around a single in the ninth to earn his 13th save of the year.
Kendrick's run-scoring single in the seventh closed the hosts' gap to 3-2 and scored Josh Hamilton, who clubbed a leadoff double.
Schierholtz helped the Cubs jump on the board in the first with an RBI single, plating Luis Valbuena, who was plunked with one out earlier in the frame.
Pujols tied the game in the home half with a sacrifice fly to left, bringing home Aybar after he doubled to open up the frame.
Chicago took a 3-1 lead in the third thanks to RBI singles from Soriano and Sweeney. David DeJesus reached first on Alberto Callaspo's throwing error at third, and two batters later, advanced to second as Weaver issued a walk to Anthony Rizzo. Soriano then came through with a run-scoring poke to left, then Sweeney hit a RBI single to right in between a Schierholtz fly out, to make it 3-1 in favor of the Cubs.
Weaver still hasn't lost an interleague start since falling to the Dodgers on June 20, 2009. He is 8-0 with over his last 13 interleague outings ... It was Pujols' 484th career homer ... Kendrick went 3-for-3.