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Barden homer lifts Cardinals to 2-1 victory over D’backs

PHOENIX – Brian Barden’s locker smelled like a fraternity house on homecoming.

That was fitting, because it felt like homecoming for the former Arizona Diamondbacks prospect.

Barden’s teammates doused him in beer to celebrate his first career homer – an eighth-inning shot that lifted the St. Louis Cardinals to a 2-1 victory over the Diamondbacks on Monday night.

“Pale ale,” Barden said. “It’s a great day when it happens.”

The homer – and the celebratory beer shower – was even sweeter because it came against the team that drafted Barden in the sixth round in 2002. It came in front of about a dozen friends and family, including Barden’s parents, who live in nearby Glendale.

Albert Pujols also homered as the Cardinals won their fifth straight. It was Pujols’ fourth homer of the season, and the 323rd of his career.

“You know, it’s just another home run,” Cardinals starter Todd Wellemeyer said of Pujols’ blast. “No big deal.”

Barden’s homer was a big deal because it won the game – and because it came against the Diamondbacks. He had moved steadily through their farm system before stalling in Triple-A Tucson, where he spent most of the 2004-2007 seasons.

Barden said he had no hard feelings toward the Diamondbacks but said he hoped to “show those guys that maybe they missed out on something.”

The Cardinals claimed Barden on waivers on Aug. 13, 2007. He spent most of last season in Triple-A Memphis, batting .222 (2 for 9) for St. Louis.

With the game tied at 1 in the eighth, Doug Davis (0-2) left a 3-2 pitch over the plate and the right-handed swinging Barden lined it over the fence in right field.

“It was a great pitch,” Davis said. “I believe he knew it was coming, but at the same time, you don’t expect Barden to hurt you the other way, either. He put a good at-bat on me and he beat me.”

Davis retired the first seven Cardinals he faced. Davis kept St. Louis off-balance most of the night, but the Cardinals made him pay for his mistakes.

Pujols lined an 0-1 pitch in the fourth inning deep into the left-field seats for his fourth homer. Then Barden homered to open the eighth.

Davis allowed seven hits in eight innings, walking one and striking out five. He lasted eight innings only once in 26 starts last year.

“I’ll take that 31 more times, as long as we score more than that,” Davis said.

The two homers were enough on a night the Diamondbacks struggled to come up with big hits against Wellemeyer.

“We had some opportunities, probably more so than they did,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “They had two balls that left the ballpark and we didn’t cash in.”



St. Louis (Carpenter 1-0) at Arizona (Scherzer 0-0), 6:40 p.m. Tuesday. TV: FSNA. Radio: 1490 AM

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