ST. LOUIS - Albert Pujols took one off the noggin for his team on a perfect day at the plate, and stand-in cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick homered to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Seattle Mariners, 9-3, on Monday night.

Pujols singled three times and walked twice as the Cardinals bounced back after totaling 19 runs during a 1-5 West Coast swing that dropped them out of the NL Central lead. Plus, he stayed in the game after a throw to the plate glanced off his helmet flap in the fifth.

Ludwick finished with four RBIs and Adam Wainwright (9-4) pitched into the eighth after a shaky start.

The Mariners have lost six of seven, fizzling after Ichiro Suzuki hit the second pitch of the game for his 31st career leadoff homer - tying Chuck Knoblauch for 10th place. Suzuki also doubled in the eighth for his major league-leading 31st multihit game.

Luke French (0-1) replaced Ian Snell in the rotation and allowed four runs in four innings.

Seattle 200 000 010 – 3 6 2

St. Louis 301 040 01x – 9 12 1

Seattle AB   R   H   BI   Avg.      St. Louis AB   R   H   BI   Avg.   

I.Suzuki rf 4   1   2   1   .344      F.Lopez 2b 5   0   0   0   .250

Figgins 2b 3   1   2   1   .233      Miles 2b 0   0   0   0   .231

F.Gutierrez cf 4   0   0   0   .275      Holliday lf 4   2   2   0   .292

White p 0   0   0   0   ---      Pujols 1b 3   2   3   1   .309

Jo.Lopez 3b 4   0   0   1   .227      Ludwick rf 4   2   2   4   .289

Bradley lf 4   0   1   0   .224      Freese 3b 5   1   1   1   .305

Jo.Wilson ss 4   0   0   0   .291      Rasmus cf 3   1   1   2   .293

Carp 1b 3   0   0   0   .182      Y.Molina c 4   0   0   0   .263

Ro.Johnson c 4   0   0   0   .208      Wainwright p 3   0   1   0   .132

French p 1   0   0   0   .000      Motte p 0   0   0   0   .000

a-Langerhns ph 1   0   0   0   .172      Boggs p 0   0   0   0   .000

Snell p 0   0   0   0   ---      B.Ryan ss 4   1   2   0   .211

C.Cordero p 0   0   0   0   ---      Totals 35   9   12   8      

b-Sandrs ph-cf 1   1   1   0   .229

Totals 33   3   6   3      

a-struck out for French in the 5th. b-singled for C.Cordero in the 8th. E: Jo.Wilson (7), Jo.Lopez (7), Freese (8). LOB: Seattle 5, St. Louis 8. 2B: I.Suzuki (15), Bradley (7), Ludwick (17), Wainwright (3). HR: I.Suzuki (2), off Wainwright; Ludwick (11), off French; Rasmus (12), off Snell. RBIs: I.Suzuki (19), Figgins (17), Jo.Lopez (27), Pujols (48), Ludwick 4 (39), Freese (33), Rasmus 2 (32). SF: Ludwick. RLSP: Seattle 3 (Jo.Wilson, Bradley, Jo.Lopez); St. Louis 3 (F.Lopez, Holliday, Freese). RA: Figgins, F.Gutierrez, Jo.Lopez. GIDP: Jo.Lopez, Wainwright. DP: Seattle 1 (Figgins, Carp); St. Louis 1 (Freese, Pujols).

Seattle walks (2): Figgins, Carp.

St. Louis walks (5): Holliday, Pujols 2, Rasmus, Wainwright.

Seattle strikeouts (7): I.Suzuki, Bradley, Ro.Johnson 3, French, Langerhans.

St. Louis strikeouts (3): Holliday, Ludwick, Freese.

Seattle IP   H   R   ER   BB   SO   NP   ERA   

French (L 0-1) 4   6   4   4   2   0   60   7.45

Snell 2   3   4   4   2   3   46   6.41

C.Cordero 1   0   0   0   1   0   14   2.25

White 1   3   1   1   0   0   19   7.56

St. Louis IP   H   R   ER   BB   SO   NP   ERA   

Wainwright (W 9-4) 7   6   3   3   1   6   108   2.41

Motte 1   0   0   0   0   0   12   2.33

Boggs 1   0   0   0   1   1   17   3.00

Wainwright pitched to 2 batters in the 8th. IR-S: Motte 2-1. Umpires: Home, Fieldin Culbreth; First, Marty Foster; Second, Gary Cederstrom; Third, Ed Hickox. T: 2:42. A: 36,113 (43,975).