Rolen's 4 RBI in first quash Padres' sweep hopes

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- After losing three straight for the first time all season, the St. Louis Cardinals left nothing to chance.

Scott Rolen had four RBI and David Eckstein had two hits and an RBI in an 11-run first inning as the Cardinals avoided a four-game sweep by beating the San Diego Padres 15-5 on Sunday.

"It's one of those innings where things just went right," Rolen said. "I had a nice opportunity to make two outs in that inning, possibly a third."

The Padres, who had won six straight, have never swept a four-game series in St. Louis. Any thoughts they had of that Sunday were quickly dashed when the Cardinals had their fifth 11-run inning in 10 seasons. The team record is 12.

"A loss is a loss," Mark Sweeney said. "We played great this whole series, and even looking at today we got behind early but we kept on fighting."

Larry Walker homered, doubled, singled and had two RBI for St. Louis, which lost the previous two games by one run and is 9-8 at home contrasted with a 10-3 road record. Walker, who played most of his career for the Rockies, singled and was hit by a pitch in the first.

"I couldn't believe I was getting up again," Walker said. "That's Coors Field-ish."

The big first inning took all the pressure off Jason Marquis,
who worked six solid innings and also drew a bases-loaded walk in the first.

Padres starter Tim Redding (0-5) allowed eight of the runs. He gave up five hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning before leaving with a sore shoulder after facing 10 batters. The team said he'll return to San Diego for further examination.

Redding said he felt a pinch in his shoulder in his last start on Tuesday against the Rockies and tried to pitch through it.

"I've never had an arm problem that's required severe medical attention," Redding said. "There's a first time for everything but it's a little nerve-racking and scary."

The first five batters to face reliever Randy Williams reached base safely.

Rolen had a RBI groundout and a three-run double that deflected off the glove of a leaping Ryan Klesko near the left field wall in the first. Eckstein opened the inning with a double and followed with an RBI single.

Marquis (5-1) won his 20th game in a little more than a season and a month with the Cardinals, allowing four runs and six hits in six innings. He held the Padres hitless until Jesse Garcia and Klesko homered on consecutive at-bats with one out in the fourth.

Right-hander Brad Thompson earned a save by working three innings in his major-league debut. Robert Fick homered off Thompson in the ninth.

Brian Giles added a two-run homer in the sixth for San Diego, and Abraham Nunez and Reggie Sanders homered on consecutive pitches off Chris Hammond in the seventh for St. Louis.

Game notes
The last time the Cardinals scored 11 runs in an inning was Sept. 6, 2002, against the Cubs. The last 11-run first inning was also against the Cubs on Aug. 7, 1998. ... St. Louis scored 12 in the third inning against Philadelphia in a doubleheader opener on Sept. 15, 1926. ... The Cardinals have outscored the opposition 53-18 the first two innings. ... The Padres have hit 10 homers in five games. ... Marquis, who singled in the sixth, is 6-for-18 on the year with four RBI. ... The Cardinals are 35-11 against the Padres since 1999 and have won 20 of the last 25 at Busch Stadium. ... The Padres' winning streak was their best since a nine-game run from July 30-Aug. 13, 2000. ... Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was helped off the field by trainers after spraining his left ankle on the first base bag, running out the last out of the seventh. The throw from shortstop Damian Jackson was off line, drawing Sweeney to the other side of first base. The team
will wait a day to assess the injury but is recalling catcher Mike Mahoney from Triple-A Memphis as insurance. Molina thought he'd be out only a few days but La Russa cautioned that "Yadier doesn't know."