The Cardinals' trip ended at 6-3 and they lost their first series on the three-stop trip when left-hander Mark Mulder couldn't hold a 6-2 lead, built through a five-run fifth inning, at San Diego.
Mulder, who allowed six of the eight runs the Padres scored in their half of the fifth, gave up three homers in the game after not giving up any in his previous two starts.
After Albert Pujols had been made to look bad by San Diego starter Jake Peavy, who fanned Pujols in the slugger's first two at-bats, Padres manager Bruce Bochy had Peavy pitch to Pujols with first base open in the fifth inning.
The Cardinals led only 3-2 at that juncture, but Pujols lashed a Peavy slider for a three-run homer to center field. Pujols raised his major league-leading RBI total to 61 in just 50 games. The home run also gave the Cardinals a seemingly safe cushion because the Padres were only .215 hitters in home games at Petco Park.
St. Louis pitchers, however, gave up three homers and three doubles among 16 hits and permitted the Nos. 6-9 spots in the San Diego lineup to have 10 hits in 20 at-bats.
REPLAY: Left-hander Mark Mulder tried to barehand a flip, which was behind him, from 1B Albert Pujols but dropped the ball, loading the bases with no one out in the San Diego fifth inning. The Cardinals had a four-run lead, thanks to Pujols' three-run homer, his 24th, in the top of the inning, but it all came unraveled for the Cardinals after the drop.
After Mulder got an out and then walked home a run, Mark Bellhorn tied the game with a three-run double. Mulder probably should have been pulled at this point, but he was left in to give up the second of two homers by catcher Josh Bard, highlighting an eight-run inning for the Padres in a 10-8 win over the Cardinals.
--CF Jim Edmonds sat out a second consecutive start with a groin injury, but it is hoped that he will be ready for Houston on Monday afternoon in St. Louis. Edmonds pinchhit in the ninth and, swinging at the first pitch from RHP Trevor Hoffman, flied out to end the game.
--RHP Chris Carpenter, who has bursitis below his right shoulder, is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, and RHP Anthony Reyes is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Memphis to pitch the game that night. Reyes, who worked 5 2/3 scoreless innings at Kansas City 10 days ago, tossed eight scoreless innings in a minor league start Thursday.
--SS David Eckstein had his 21st multi-hit game of the season. He had a double and a single.
--OF Larry Bigbie was to get a start on Sunday but fell prey to the flu that has gone through the Cardinals' club the last few days.
--It was not the best of days for 3B Scott Rolen. Although he hit a solo homer in the ninth, his second since April 16, he fanned twice, fouled out and hit into a double play with the bases loaded and the Cardinals rallying.
--2B Aaron Miles, who had been 0-for-8, had three hits.
--OF John Rodriguez, who had been 0-for-10, had two hits.