Smoltz terrific in Cards debut

SAN DIEGO (AP) - John Smoltz had a brilliant debut with the St. Louis Cardinals, striking out a season-high nine - including seven straight - and holding San Diego to three hits over five scoreless innings in a 5-2 victory Sunday.

Smoltz also had a bunt single and scored the first run for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, who retained their 8-game lead over the Chicago Cubs. He didn't walk a batter.

Albert Pujols hit his 40th homer, a leadoff shot to right in the fourth. It was the fifth time he's hit 40 homers and the first since 2006, when he hit a career-high 49.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.