Things aren’t looking good for Cardinals closer Jason Motte

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When Cardinals closer Jason Motte went down late last month after a poor spring, the team termed his injury a “mild strain” in his right elbow. Following a followup MRI on Tuesday, things sound much more ominous:

With young gun Trevor Rosenthal and interim closer Mitchell Boggs in the fold and plenty of bullpen depth, the Cardinals are pretty well set up to handle Motte’s absence. Not to say that he won’t be missed. The 30-year-old Motte has posted ERAs under 3.00 three straight seasons, and he finished with 42 saves in 49 chances last year. Plus, the news comes right on the heels of Boggs giving up seven runs in what had been a tie game with the Reds on Monday.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).