Wells shelled, Cards romp to easy win

An early-morning arrival from San Diego forced the Cardinals to miss some sleep, but they sure didn’t look very sluggish at the plate.”Slugging” might be a better word to describe them.Six straight batters got hits off Randy Wells, and St. Louis jumped out to a big early lead that Chris Carpenter made stand up in a 7-1 rout on Friday. Ryan Ludwick added a two-run homer in the ninth for St. Louis. Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina each drove in a pair of runs, and Colby Rasmus also had an RBI for the Cardinals, who knocked Wells from the game after only 16 pitches. He allowed five runs on six hits without retiring a batter, and St. Louis sent nine to the plate. James Russell finally got out of the inning, but the damage was done.The six consecutive hits given up by the Cubs was the most since 1975, when Philadelphia hammered starter Bill Bonham for seven straight hits without an out. The Phillies beat the Cubs 13-5 in that game at Veterans Stadium.Carpenter kept the Cubs at bay when he finally took the mound, scattering seven hits over 6 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and one walk. The only run he allowed came on Tyler Colvin’s pinch-hit homer in the fifth, the first of his career.The victory was the second straight for St. Louis, and came in the first meeting of the season between the NL Central rivals.The outcome of the first meeting of NL Central rivals this season wasn’t in doubt after the first inning, when Felipe Lopez started the barrage against Wells. Ludwick followed with a double and Pujols drove in a pair with his single to center. Matt Holliday also singled and Rasmus made it 4-0 with his two-run single to right.Molina capped the scoring with a two-run double, knocking Wells from the game.Wells has lost three of his last five starts and hasn’t won a decision since April 30, but his biggest problem has been consistency, not necessarily his pitching. He was knocked out of a game May 6 at Pittsburgh when he allowed six runs in two innings, but also lasted at least eight innings in two of his last four outings.Russell and the rest of the bullpen kept the damage from getting much worse. Bob Howry, Jeff Stevens and Carlos Zambrano combined to pitch four scoreless innings, before John Grabow allowed Ludwick’s two-run homer in the ninth.Meanwhile, Carpenter was breezing along after a shaky start.The 2005 Cy Young winner allowed singles to the first two batters he faced, but got some help when Kosuke Fukudome was caught stealing. After issuing a walk to Aramis Ramirez, Carpenter got Alfonso Soriano to hit an inning-ending fly ball to center.Carpenter was finally lifted in the seventh, and the bullpen took care of the rest, allowing only one hit over the final 2 1/3 innings.

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