Albert Pujols tells the Brewers: “no champagne for you just yet”

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A ten game lead is a big freakin’ lead this time of the year. Even if the Cardinals were to sweep the Brewers in the present series and do so again when they meet in St. Louis next week, Milwaukee would still have a pretty good lead in the division.

But ya gotta start somewhere, right?

It’s still going on — indeed, it’s only in the third inning —  but right now the Cardinals lead the Brewers 6-0 in the concluding game of their three-game series in Milwaukee.  Albert Pujols has hit two home runs in his first two at bats, one of which was a moon shot out to where Bernie Brewer’s slide is, the second a grand slam.

I’m still skeptical that the Cards have the giddyup to catch the Brewers. But sometimes things happen that make you hmmmmmm.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.