ST. LOUIS — 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.
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 ending starter David Wells’ night. 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 last-place 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.
Manager Bud Black thought that Wells was more unlucky than off.
“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,” Black said.
Wells allowed seven runs and 11 hits, both season worsts, and has a 5.54 ERA.
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.