The Cardinals' fourth win in 17 games enabled them to maintain a two-game lead in the National League Central Division and ensured they would be in first place at the All-Star break.
John Rodriguez helped blow open a game that was 4-2 entering the eighth. First, Rodriguez, pinch hitting for So Taguchi, rocketed a second-deck shot for his first homer of the season. Then, after staying in the game, he doubled to key a three-run ninth.
Four of the six walks the Cardinals drew led to runs.
REPLAY: Jason Marquis went into the eighth inning, a place where few Cardinals starters have ventured lately. He allowed just two runs in 7 2/3 innings.
The Cardinals never trailed, scoring twice in the second inning, with Gary Bennett's first of three singles driving in the first run. Marquis was nicked by a pitch to score the second run.
--C Gary Bennett made his first start since June 25 -- he had been out with an oblique injury -- and singled three times in four at-bats. He was replacing C Yadier Molina, who was still dizzy after suffering a mild concussion when hit by a pitch on Thursday.
--CF Jim Edmonds made a highlight-reel catch of Eric Munson's drive which sent him up the hill in center field at Minute Maid Park. Edmonds made a lunging grab with his back to the infield. "I've never seen a play like that one," said C Gary Bennett.
--RHP Sidney Ponson, who pitched strongly in a 4-2 loss on Thursday, was designated for assignment with the arrival Friday of RHP Jeff Weaver.
Manager Tony La Russa said he couldn't guarantee that Ponson would remain in the rotation in the second half of the season, but that he would recommend Ponson to anyone who called about his services.
--RHP Jeff Weaver probably will not pitch this weekend. The Cardinals will look at Weaver, 3-10 with the Los Angeles, in a couple of bullpen sessions.
"My last six starts were better," said Weaver. "Now, I start at 0-0."
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Number of complete games Cardinals starters had in the first half of the season. That was a 1-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox by RHP Anthony Reyes.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We still have a need for another hitter if the right guy is available." -- GM Walt Jocketty, after acquiring rotation help in RHP Jeff Weaver from the Los Angeles Angels.
LHP Ricardo Rincon went on the disabled list retroactive to April 19 with a left shoulder injury. He underwent surgery to repair rotator cuff and impingement problems and will miss the remainder of the season. OF Larry Bigbie went on the disabled list June 6 with a hernia. He had surgery on June 8.
LHP Mark Mulder was placed on the disabled list retroactive to June 21 with a left shoulder strain.
RF Juan Encarnacion missed the game July 2 with back spasms, but he was back in the lineup July 3.
C Yadier Molina suffered a mild concussion and left the game July 6 after being hit in the back of the head by a pitch. He sat out on July 7.