Cardinals tie league record, chase Padres with 10-hit, 10-run fifth

" Turning point: Down 3-0, Braden Looper, batting in the eighth spot, started the rally with a single. Aaron Miles then reached first on an infield single followed by four straight RBI singles by David Eckstein, So Taguchi, Albert Pujols and Juan Encarnacion.

" Adding insult to injury: David Wells is 0-3 with a 14.33 ERA in his last four starts, the longest of the bunch lasting 5 1/3 innings.

" Figure this: The 10-run inning was the most against the Padres since they gave up 11 in a 15-5 loss at St. Louis on May 8, 2005.

-- ESPN.com news services

Cardinals 10, Padres 5

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- For one inning, the St. Louis Cardinals could do no wrong.

The Cardinals tied a major-league record with 10 straight hits in a 10-run fifth inning, with pitcher Braden Looper and Aaron Miles getting two apiece in a 10-5 victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday night.

"That's momentum like I've never seen before," said Ryan Ludwick, who homered in the big fifth. "It's just an incredible inning."

Looper opened the inning with a single to center and then with the Cardinals up 8-3 bunted for another hit. Miles followed Looper twice with singles, the latter driving in a run.

The streak was broken when David Eckstein hit a sacrifice fly and So Taguchi ended the inning by grounding into a double play.

Scott Rolen's three-run homer was the biggest hit, putting St. Louis ahead 7-3 and chasing starter David Wells. Mike Thompson entered, and Ludwick homered on his first pitch.

The Cardinals ended a five-game losing streak during which they were outscored 41-11 by lower-rung Pittsburgh and Washington. They had six straight hits with runners in scoring position in the inning after going 6-for-44 on their just completed 1-5 trip.

"I don't know where that came from," manager Tony La Russa said. "It was really impressive."

St. Louis had mustered four hits off Wells (5-8) in four scoreless innings before the fifth, when it tied a season best for runs in an inning.

The 44-year-old Wells is 0-3 with a 14.33 ERA in his last four starts, the longest of the bunch lasting 5 1/3 innings. The Padres lost a four-game winning streak, one off their season best, and fell two games behind idle Arizona in the NL West.

Manager Bud Black thought that Wells had been more unlucky than off.

"I thought David's stuff was fine," Black said. "I think the only balls hit hard that inning were the single by [Juan] Encarnacion and then Rolen's home run was hit well, but prior to that every hit was a seeing-eye base hit."

Wells declined to speak to reporters. He allowed seven runs and 11 hits, both season worsts, and has a 5.54 ERA.

Black wasn't sure if the 96-degree heat at game time was a factor in Wells' meltdown.

"When you're out there a little longer and your pitch count gets up, sure that takes its toll," Black said. "That's a little taxing in this heat."

Adrian Gonzalez, Geoff Blum and Khalil Greene homered for the Padres, who outscored the opposition 23-9 during the winning streak.

Looper (9-9) won for only the third time in 11 starts despite allowing all three long balls. He was charged with four runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings, including Blum's two-run drive in the top of the fifth that made it 3-0.

Looper, who began the game batting .161 with five RBIs, was in the eighth spot in the lineup, a ploy La Russa has used the last three games in an effort to spark the sagging defending World Series champions. He first tried it in 1998 during Mark McGwire's then-record 70-homer season, reasoning that it would give the Cardinals a pair of leadoff hitters after the first time through the order and thus raise the odds of McGwire seeing better pitches to hit.

"I worry about making pitches, I don't worry about where I'm batting in the order," Looper said. "I get more lucky when I get hits than skill. I pretty much know I'm here to pitch."

Before the Cardinals batted Joel Pineiro eighth on Saturday at Washington, no one in the major leagues had tried it since 2005 when the Marlins' Dontrelle Willis hit seventh twice and eighth twice in his final four starts of the season.

The Cardinals lost the previous two games with the pitcher batting eighth this year, although pitcher Adam Wainwright homered on Sunday and Adam Kennedy, the ninth-place hitter on Sunday, also homered.

Game notes
The Cardinals are among many teams with 10 consecutive hits, doing it in 1920 and 1922. ... The game was played with a three-man crew after Marty Foster became ill, a day after he was drilled by a foul ball in the facemask. The high heat also may have been a factor. ... The Padres are 11-13 since the All-Star break. ... Wells entered the game 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA against the Cardinals in five starts but faced them for the first time since June 8, 2005, in St. Louis. ... The Cardinals also scored 10 runs in the fifth inning June 16 at Oakland. ... The 10-run inning was the most against the Padres since they gave up 11 in a 15-5 loss at St. Louis on May 8, 2005.