Cardinals on Five-Game Winning Streak

Milwaukee opens a big four-game series at Busch Stadium tonight against the second-place Cardinals.

Inside pitch

A four-game series sweep is improbable enough, but the way the Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres on Sunday nearly defied logic. Aaron Miles, who had hit two homers this season and 14 for his five-year career, clubbed a walk-off grand slam with one out and the score tied in the ninth.

"Fantasy Island," said manager Tony La Russa. "He is a tough competitor. The situation didn't scare him. Evidently."

The Cardinals' fifth straight win sent them 14 games over .500 for the first time this season and completed their first four-game sweep of the Padres since July 1990.

"We did what we've been doing every day … just gut it out," La Russa said.

The Cardinals erased a 3-2 deficit on Troy Glaus' eighth-inning, three-run homer, his fifth long ball in six games.

Now, the Cardinals prepare for a four-game home series against Milwaukee, which is just one game behind them and three back of first-place Chicago in the National League Central Division.

Notes and quotes

--Although rookie lefty Jaime Garcia pitched creditably for five innings Sunday, especially after allowing a leadoff home run, the Cardinals probably will make another roster change involving him before tonight's start of a showdown with the Brewers. The most likely pitcher to be recalled is right-hander Mitchell Boggs, 3-1 in a tour with the Cardinals earlier in the season and who was scheduled to pitch Monday afternoon for Memphis in Oklahoma City.

--First baseman Albert Pujols got Sunday off, although he came in as a pinch-hitter to drive in a run in the seventh. La Russa pointed out that Pujols really didn't have any All-Star break, what with all the ceremonies and obligations the players had. "If he'd had three days off, he'd be playing (Sunday)."

--Miles' homer was the 10th game-ending grand slam in Cardinals history. The others were hit by Gary Bennett, David Eckstein, Tom Herr, Darrell Porter, Roger Freed, Joe Hague, Carl Taylor, Joe Cunningham and Pepper Martin.

--Righty Jason Isringhausen, who hasn't had a save since May 5, had to be replaced in the ninth inning when he allowed three straight hits. "He tried to do more and today, it was less," La Russa said.

--The blown save, credited to Brad Thompson, who got the win, was the Cardinals' 23rd of the season, a major league high.

By the numbers

9--Number of consecutive victories by Kyle Lohse after he won the Cardinals' first game after the All-Star break.

Quote of the day

"It would be huge, assuming that they are able to come back at the level we're expecting."--GM John Mozeliak on the hoped-for return of pitchers Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright from injuries. Both are expected back in August.


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