CHICAGO -- All Alfonso Soriano needed to see was a pitch to his liking, and that's a pretty broad category.
After striking out three times earlier Friday, Soriano golfed Chris Perez's low slider into the left-field bleachers for a two-run, eighth-inning homer to give the Chicago Cubs an 8-7 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Perez was kicking himself for not throwing the 1-2 slider in the dirt -- and that might have been his only chance to keep Soriano from going deep.
A notorious bad-ball hitter, Soriano has five homers in Chicago's first 10 games and two game-winning shots this week.
"It was very low but I like low pitches and I put a good swing on it," Soriano said. Then he laughed and added: "Well, not only low. I like everything. High. Inside. Away. Just throw something close to home plate and I'll hit it."
Perhaps, but he couldn't hit anything in his first three at-bats. He fanned each time on pitches thrown well out of the strike zone by P.J. Walters, who was making his major-league debut in place of injured St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter.
"I don't know this guy," Soriano said. "I think I was too excited. I have to learn they don't want to throw too many strikes to me, especially their first time in the big leagues. I have to calm down."
Mission accomplished in the eighth.
"Sori's always dangerous, no matter what the situation is or what he's done to that point," teammate Derrek Lee said. "He's able to forget about his bad at-bats, and that's not easy. Guys don't like to strike out and a lot of guys shorten their swing. Not Sori. He goes for the kill."
Soriano also beat Milwaukee with a two-run, ninth-inning homer last Sunday.
In losing for only the second time in nine games, the Cardinals couldn't score the tying run after Carlos Marmol opened the ninth inning by walking Colby Rasmus and hitting Albert Pujols with a pitch.
"I didn't get the job done, that's all there is to it," Ludwick said. "He threw three straight fastballs right by me."
Brian Barden had given the Cardinals a 6-5 lead in the sixth with his second homer in two days against the Cubs. Ludwick's second homer of the game made it 7-5 in the seventh.
Aramis Ramirez pulled the Cubs within a run in the seventh with an RBI single, his third hit of the day.
All of St. Louis' runs came against Zambrano, who fired his glove to the ground in frustration after allowing a single by Skip Schumaker during the Cardinals' four-run third.
Even with Pujols doing relatively little, the Cardinals scored 14 runs in the first two games of this four-game series between the division archrivals.
"They've got some thunder over there," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "They're leading the league in hitting and runs scored and you can see why."
Ludwick has a 20-game hitting streak and Chris Duncan an 11-game streak for the Cardinals. ... For a second consecutive day, Milton Bradley refused to talk about the third-strike argument that resulted in his ejection from Thursday's game. Piniella backed his player, saying: "It didn't look like a good pitch to me." Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's take: "I don't know how the Cubs get away with making the comments they make about umpires." Aside from that lone pinch-hitting appearance, Bradley hasn't played since Sunday due to a groin injury.