ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Albert Pujols scored three runs to lead the St Louis Cardinals to a 6-3 victory over division rivals the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
The win allowed the National League Central-leading Cardinals to maintain a one-game advantage over the Cincinnati Reds, who snapped a three-game losing streak with a 7-2 victory over the Florida Marlins.
Pujols hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first, his 29th of the season, and scored again in the third and seventh innings.
Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook earned his first win for St Louis since being acquired from the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline. He pitched six innings and allowed two runs on six hits and a walk, striking out three.
Westbrook also produced some offense, leading off the fourth inning with a double and later scoring the eventual game-winning run.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina went 1-for-2 at the plate with sacrifice flies that drove in two runs.
Chicago's Derrek Lee hit a solo home run in the eighth inning to draw the Cubs to 6-3 after they had jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
"We had a chance there in the first inning to pick up a few more runs, and we stranded a couple with runners on second and third," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "We just didn't hold the game in check."
(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by Greg Stutchbury and Peter Rutherford)