Five-run eighth powers Cards past Brewers

Unsung heroes: Ryan Ludwick's bases-loaded walk broke the eighth-inning tie and Albert Pujols added some insurance runs with a three-run double.

Figure this: The Brewers have now lost 11 of their last 14 road games and fell to 21-32 away from Miller Park.

Quotable: "That's the million dollar question, so to speak. We've got to figure it out someway, somehow, and very quickly." -- Brewers reliever Derrick Turnbow, trying to explain his team's road woes

Let's go racing: Milwaukee, which led the division by 8½ games before play on June 24, is now just a half-game ahead of Chicago. This marks the Brewers' smallest margin in the Central since before play on April 22.

-- ESPN.com news services

Cardinals 9, Brewers 5

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Milwaukee Brewers' NL Central lead is nearly gone after another terrible week on the road.

Ryan Ludwick's bases-loaded walk broke an eighth-inning tie, Albert Pujols followed with a three-run double and the St. Louis Cardinals rallied from a five-run deficit to beat the Brewers 9-5 Sunday.

On Saturday, the Cardinals came back from six down in a 7-6 victory in a doubleheader opener.

"Those are timely hits," said Scott Rolen, whose 1,000th RBI came on a single that tied the score for the second straight day. "We haven't had that, but we did the last couple of days."

Milwaukee, which led the division by 8 1/2 games before play on June 24, is just a half-game ahead of the Chicago Cubs. It's the Brewers' smallest margin in the Central since before play on April 22.

"We're still in first," reliever Derrick Turnbow said. "We've just got to play better, like we're capable, and I think everything will be fine."

Milwaukee completed a 2-6 trip and has lost 11 of 14 on the road, dropping to 21-32 away from home. At Miller Park, the Brewers' are 36-17, the best home record in the NL.

"We're going home and it's a good chance to get on a roll again," Turnbow said, looking ahead to a homestand against the Mets and Phillies.

Turnbow can't explain the Brewers' road woes.

"That's the million dollar question, so to speak," he said. "We've got to figure it out someway, somehow, and very quickly."

The defending World Series champion Cardinals, who trailed by 10 1/2 games at the end of June, are just six games back despite a pitching staff devastated by injuries. St. Louis won three straight for the first time since June 3-6.

"It would have been very easy a whole bunch of times to say 'This is not our year,'" manager Tony La Russa said. "We could have just disappeared. If we start doing the baseball things better, character-wise we're in great shape and we can have some fun."

St. Louis closed to 5-4 in a four-run fifth inning, then went ahead in a five-run eighth against Turnbow (2-4) and Carlos Villanueva.

Rolen tied it with a one-out single following singles by pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker and Yadier Molina. David Eckstein's single, his third hit of the game, loaded the bases and Villanueva relieved.

Ludwick, who drove in the go-ahead runs in both ends of Saturday's doubleheader, walked on a 3-2 pitch for a 6-5 lead. Pujols then broke open the game.

Brewers manager Ned Yost tried to take the loss in stride. Closer Francisco Cordero gave up three runs in the ninth inning on Saturday, and this time he never got a chance to pitch.

"I've never felt comfortable, especially in this ballpark, with any lead," Yost said. "The other night we had a huge lead and I was never comfortable. Those guys can really swing the bat."

Yost had a simple message for his team, bidding for the franchise's first winning season since 1992.

"Keep your heads up," Yost said. "We'll go home and rest, take it easy, and go after it again on Tuesday."

Ryan Franklin (4-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.

Cardinals starter Kip Wells allowed five runs and 11 hits in five innings. Milwaukee rookie Yovani Gallardo didn't allow a hit until the fifth, when he gave up four runs and four hits.

Ryan Braun's RBI single and Johnny Estrada's two-run single put the Brewers ahead in the third, and Gallardo had a two-run, two-out single in the fifth.

Scott Spiezio, activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game and playing for only the fifth time since June 26, doubled to start the fifth. Eckstein fouled off seven 0-2 pitches before lofting an RBI double, and the Cardinals added two more runs on Estrada's passed ball and Ludwick's groundout.

St. Louis loaded the bases with one out in the seventh against Scott Linebrink when Pujols was intentionally walked. Chris Duncan struck out and Jim Edmonds flied out.

Game notes
Estrada is 7-for-15 against Wells. ... Brian Shouse worked a scoreless sixth for Milwaukee and has not allowed an earned run in his last 20 appearances covering 17 2/3 innings. ... The Cardinals lead the NL with 46 pinch hits.