St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols celebrates after hitting an RBI-single during the second inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Friday, Sept. 17, 2010, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols hits an RBI-double during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Friday, Sept. 17, 2010, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Friday, Sept. 17, 2010, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Yadier Molina went 4 for 4 with a career-high five RBIs to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 14-4 win over the San Diego Padres on Friday night.
The Padres, who began the day a half-game behind the first-place San Francisco Giants in the NL West, fell 1 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the wild-card standings. The Giants hosted Milwaukee later.
San Diego led the NL West by 6 1/2 games after beating Arizona on Aug. 25 but has dropped 16 of 22 since.
Matt Holliday homered and drove in three runs for the Cardinals. Albert Pujols added three hits and two RBIs. Colby Rasmus had three hits and scored four times.
St. Louis has won 11 successive games against San Diego at Busch Stadium, tying the longest active streak in the major leagues. San Francisco has won 11 in a row at home over Texas, and Toronto has an 11-game home winning streak against Baltimore.
The Cardinals pounded out a season-high 19 hits and saddled San Diego rookie Mat Latos with the worst loss of his career. Latos (14-7) lasted just 1 1-3 innings and gave up eight earned runs.
Latos recently set a major league record with 15 consecutive starts of allowing two runs or less in five innings or more. That streak ended when he gave up five earned runs in four innings of a 14-6 loss to San Francisco on Sunday.
The Cardinals won their second in a row and moved within six games of first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central following the Reds' 5-3 loss at Houston.
St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse (4-7) allowed three runs on seven hits over five innings.
Molina highlighted a five-run outburst in the second with a bases-loaded single that brought in two runs and pushed the lead to 7-2. His double in the opening inning put St. Louis up 3-1. Molina, who tied a career high with four hits, added a run-scoring double in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth.
Holliday hit his 27th homer, a solo shot, off reliever Wade LeBlanc in the sixth.
St. Louis scored three times in the opening inning. The first three batters reached and scored against Latos.
Miguel Tejada hit his 299th career homer in the first to give San Diego a 1-0 lead.
Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin returned to the team and pitched one inning. He gave up a solo homer to Chase Headley in the ninth. Franklin had been at home in Oklahoma for a few days on personal business.
NOTES: Holliday leads the NL with 48 two-out RBIs. ... Adrian Gonzalez is 2 for 20 against the Cardinals this season. ... San Diego RHP Chris Young will make his first start since April 6 on Saturday. Young missed 144 games with a right shoulder strain.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)