ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina set a major-league record for wins by a starting battery as the St. Louis Cardinals routed the San Francisco Giants 15-6 on Sunday night in a game that ended with veteran slugger Albert Pujols on the mound.
Molina homered and drove in four runs, Wainwright pitched six effective innings and the Cardinals roughed up Carlos Rodón early. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado each added a two-run homer for the Cardinals, who took two of three in the series after losing two of three to the struggling Baltimore Orioles. Goldschmidt drove in three runs.
Pujols, the Cardinals designated hitter, entered to pitch for the first time in his 22-year career in the ninth. He gave up a three-run homer to Luis Gonzalez and a solo shot to Joey Bart but managed to get the final three outs with plenty of margin to spare.
The 42-year-old Pujols became the oldest player to make his major-league pitching debut since Lena Blackburne brought himself in to pitch at age 42 in his final big-league game as a player/manager for the 1929 Chicago White Sox.
Albert Pujols made his first career pitching appearance in his 2,988th career game.
That is by far the most games in MLB history by a player at the time of their first pitching appearance. (2nd is Dave Concepcion 2,441) https://t.co/Kln1IAdXTw
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 16, 2022
Wainwright and Molina broke the major-league record with their 203rd win as a starting battery. They passed Warren Spahn and Del Crandall, who amassed 202 wins for the Boston/Milwaukee Braves from 1949-63.
The Cardinals duo has started 311 games together, third all-time behind Spahn and Crandall (316) and Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan (324) of the Detroit Tigers from 1963-75.
Joc Pederson had a two-run homer for the Giants, who lost their second in a row after winning six straight.
Molina capped a four-run outburst in the first off Rodón (4-2) with a two-run single. The 39-year-old catcher added a two-run homer off reliver Zack Littell in the fifth to push the lead to 11-0.
Wainwright (4-3) gave up two runs and three hits. He struck out five and walked two. The 40-year-old right-hander retired 14 of the first 15 batters. Gonzalez got the Giants’ first hit with a two-out single in the fifth.
Rodón allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 3⅔ innings. He struck out three and walked one. He had given up just seven earned runs in his previous six starts this season.
Every Cardinals starter had a hit by the sixth inning.
Rookie outfielder Juan Yepez singled in the first. He has reached safely in each of his first 11 games, the longest streak by a Cardinals rookie since Luis Alicea reached in 23 successive games to begin his career in 1988.
The Cardinals went 0-4 in Sunday night games last year before winning in their first try this season.
Gonzalez came in from the outfield to pitch in the seventh with the bases loaded and two outs. He gave up a run-scoring single to Dylan Carlson before getting Harrison Bader to fly out.