The Redbird Report 08/07

Scott Rolen rips a three-run homer as the St. Louis Cardinals tied a Major League Baseball record with 10 straight hits and exploded for 10 runs in the 10th inning on Monday en route to a 10-5 victory over the San Diego Padres. (AFP/GettyImages/File/Dilip Vishwanat)

It may be a bit early to read the returns on manager Tony La Russa reprising his 1998 gambit of batting the pitcher eighth, but both pitcher Braden Looper, hitting eighth, and second baseman Aaron Miles, hitting ninth, had two hits in the 10-hit, 10-run fifth.

For three games, pitchers batting eighth are 3-for-7 with a homer and second basemen Miles and Adam Kennedy are 5-for-12 with a home run.

The strategy actually is designed with the thought of giving Albert Pujols, their best hitter, more RBI opportunities after the first inning.

With the new setup, Pujols is a de facto cleanup man, but La Russa doesn't want to bat Pujols fourth in the lineup because he wants to make sure his best hitter bats in the first inning.

Mark McGwire was the No. 3 hitter in 1998 and La Russa said, "My recollection was that for a great majority of games that there either was no difference because the pitcher was hitting eighth or you had an advantage."

Indeed, the Cardinals were 43-33 in the second half of the season in 1998 with the pitcher hitting eighth.

But, as for Monday's outburst in the fifth, La Russa admitted, "I don't know where that inning came from."

CARDINALS 10, SAN DIEGO 5: With a walk to Yadier Molina not interrupting the streak, the Cardinals had 10 straight hits in a 10-run fifth inning. That tied a major-league record that had been achieved 11 times, on three occasions by the Cardinals. The Cardinals, in stopping a five-game losing streak, are now 26-25 at home and 25-33 on the road.

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