Seeing Albert Pujols on the ground in pain dampened the St. Louis Cardinals' spirits after their third straight win.

The Cardinals watched their leading hitter be helped off the field in Cincinnati with what was diagnosed as a strained left calf in the seventh inning of their 7-2 victory last night over the Reds.

"It's pretty hard to enjoy the win when something like this happens, but you've got to deal with it," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.

The six-time All-Star and 2005 National League Most Valuable Player was carted out of the clubhouse and was being flown back to St. Louis for more tests, general manager John Mozeliak said after the game.

"Based on what I saw - and I'm not a doctor - it was pretty bad," Mozeliak said.

Ryan Ludwick homered and drove in four runs to lead the Cardinals' 11-hit effort.

Pujols and Rick Ankiel gave the Cardinals their first set of back-to-back home runs this season before Pujols was hurt while running out a ground ball.

Ludwick also doubled twice and singled in support of rookie righthander Mitchell Boggs, who made his first major league start and second appearance. Boggs (1-0) allowed four hits and two runs with three walks over five innings.

"How does it affect things?" Ludwick said of Pujols' injury. "He's one of the best hitters of all time. He's the motor that makes the engine run. It's huge. We just have to dig deep and try to find a way to put runs on the board."

Reds rightfielder Ken Griffey Jr. went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first home game since hitting his 600th career home run Monday in Florida. He stepped out of the dugout and waved his batting helmet to acknowledge a standing ovation after his milestone home run was replayed on the video screen and a "Griffey Jr. 600" sign was unveiled in right-centerfield. The team plans to honor him on June 17.

The Reds have lost four of their last five games.

In other games last night:

* At New York, Arizona's Chris Snyder hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning off Joe Smith, and the Diamondbacks sent the Mets to their fifth straight loss by rallying for a rain-delayed, 9-5 victory.

* At Denver, Aaron Cook threw seven efficient innings, Todd Helton hit a three-run homer and the Rockies ended San Francisco's seven-game road winning streak with a 10-5 win.

* At San Diego, Russell Martin had three hits and three RBI, including an RBI single and a run scored in the four-run seventh, helping the Dodgers down the Padres, 7-2.

* At Pittsburgh, Lastings Milledge's two-run shot with two outs in the ninth lifted the Nationals to a wild, 7-6 win over the Pirates. Ronnie Belliard hit two homers and added an RBI single in his first game back from the disabled list and Dimitri Young and Jesus Flores also homered for the Nationals.

* At Houston, Lance Berkman homered, his 19th of the season, and hit a three-run triple, and Roy Oswalt pitched seven solid innings, with a season-high 10 strikeouts, for his first win in almost a month to lead the Astros to a 6-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

* At Chicago, Ted Lilly settled down after a shaky start to get his first win in 3 weeks and Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto homered as the Cubs continued their dominant play at Wrigley Field, beating the Atlanta Braves, 10-5.

Braves starter Tom Glavine had to leave after three innings with a left elbow strain and is headed to the disabled list. Glavine said he would probably get an MRI tomorrow. Third baseman Chipper Jones was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game because of a small tear in his right quadriceps, but he pinch-hit and drew a walk in the seventh.

In other Braves news, John Smoltz underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder. *