ST. LOUIS — After losing three straight for the first time all season, the St. Louis Cardinals left nothing to chance.
Scott Rolen had four RBIs, 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 hit a home run, doubled, singled and had two RBIs 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 Colorado 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. He 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 will 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 an 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.