Cardinals thrash Nationals 29-8 in Albert Pujols’ first game back with former team

Albert Pujols connected for a fourth-inning single in his first game in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform since the 2011 World Series … and his presence in the lineup sparked the Cards to a 29-8 spring training victory Wednesday over the Washington Nationals.

The Cardinals jumped out to an 11-0 lead after four innings and later turned the game into a complete thrashing by scoring 15 more runs in the top of the eighth inning.

In all, 14 different Cardinals players had at least one hit – with first baseman Paul Goldschmidt going 4-for-4 with a home run and shortstop Paul DeJong hitting a homer and driving in five runs.

But even with all those offensive highlights, Pujols’ return to the Cardinals may have been the most memorable.

“It feels good to be back in a real game, in the field, competing, and facing big-league pitching,” Pujols told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Getting my routine, getting my work I need to over the last couple of days, knowing that I was going to be able to play today — and it was good. I felt like I took some great swings, trying to get my feet wet again.”

A three-time National League MVP with the Cardinals, Pujols signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract for his final MLB season – returning to the city where he spent the first 11 years of his stellar career.

He begins the season with 679 career home runs, good for fifth on the all-time list behind only Barry Bonds, Henry Aaron, Babe Ruth and Alex Rodriguez.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cardinals score 15 runs in 8th inning in 29-8 spring rout of Nationals