Ludwick single caps three-run ninth in Cards' comeback

Hero: Ryan Ludwick singled home Scott Rolen in the bottom of the ninth to seal the deal.

Goat: Francisco Cordero recorded his fifth blown save of the year, marking the 1st time in his career that he has lost in consecutive appearances.

In a losing cause: Ryan Braun hit his 18th home run of the season and had three RBI.

Quotable: "Good hitting." -- Brewers manager Ned Yost when asked how the Cardinals managed three runs against Cordero.

-- ESPN.com news services

Cardinals 7, Brewers 6

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals' biggest comeback of the season came at the expense of Francisco Cordero, the Milwaukee Brewers' closer who's nearly perfect at home but extremely hittable on the road.

Ryan Ludwick's RBI single capped a three-run ninth inning against Cordero for the Cardinals, who trailed by six runs early before rallying to a 7-6 victory on Saturday in the first game of a day-night doubleheader. It was the team's biggest rally since coming from six down to beat Milwaukee 10-6 on June 9, 2006.

"I think we got what we deserved," manager Tony La Russa said. "It was a tough start but we didn't get discouraged."

Cordero (0-4) has 32 saves in 37 chances, and all five blown saves have come on the road. He has a minuscule 0.33 ERA at home, and an 8.62 ERA on the road. He has a blown save and a loss in his last two appearances, after giving up two runs in 1 1/3 innings on Thursday in Cincinnati.

Cordero declined to talk to reporters through a team spokesman.

"Good hitting," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He's one of the best closers in baseball this year."

The NL Central-leading Brewers have lost nine of their last 11 on the road and are 21-30 overall away from Miller Park. They're an NL-best 36-17 at home.

Russ Springer (5-1) pitched the ninth for the Cardinals, who are 2-3 during a seven-game homestand against the two teams they're chasing in the NL Central. St. Louis had lost four in a row to the Brewers by a combined score of 35-5 but got six innings of one-hit ball from its bullpen.

Brian Falkenborg replaced an ineffective Brad Thompson and worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. He allowed one hit in three innings.

"You always think zero until they score, and then you think one," he said. "Fortunately for me they didn't score that inning and I was able to eat up two more innings for the guys."

Pinch hitter Chris Duncan flared a double just inside the left-field line with one out in the ninth to start the rally and scored on Albert Pujols' single. Scott Rolen's RBI double tied it and he scored easily on Ludwick's hit.

"I've got to credit the guys in front of me in that last inning," Ludwick said. "I never would have been in that situation, or had that opportunity, if not for clutch hits before me."

The Cardinals scored five of their runs with two outs.

Ryan Braun was 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs for the Brewers to back rookie Manny Parra, who pitched six strong innings and hit a two-run double in his first career start.

Braun thought the Brewers, up 6-0 in the third inning, might have relaxed.

"I feel like recently we've had quite a few games similar to this when we score early and then we kind of let our guard down a little bit," Braun said. "We can't do that anymore."

Yost disagreed with that assessment.

"It's never a tendency to shut it down," Yost said. "It wasn't like we weren't trying, we just shut down and were having a little bit of a party in between innings."

Juan Encarnacion had three RBI singles for the Cardinals. La Russa was ejected for the first time this season when third base umpire Greg Gibson tossed him for arguing a checked swing strike call that went against pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker in the sixth.

Encarnacion's third RBI single off Carlos Villaneuva in the seventh cut the deficit to 6-4.

Parra, who threw a perfect game for Triple-A Nashville in June and began the year at Double-A Huntsville, allowed three runs -- one earned -- and six hits. His two-out two-run double off the base of the right-field wall in the third off Thompson was his first career hit and put Milwaukee ahead 6-0.

Braun hit his 18th homer in the first and adding a two-run single in the second. He's 12-for-24 with three homers and seven RBIs in the first six games of a nine-game trip.

Thompson left with a blister on his right hand after walking Craig Counsell and Braun to start the fourth, his quickest exit of 13 starts this year. He threw 97 pitches and gave up six runs -- four earned -- and seven hits with four walks and is 0-1 in four starts this month.

Game notes
Before the game, the Cardinals recalled Falkenborg from Triple-A Memphis and optioned RHP Kelvin Jimenez to Memphis. ... The Cardinals are 23-25 at home after going 49-31 in the first year at new Busch Stadium. ... Paid attendance of 45,089 kept the Cardinals' sellout streak alive at 128 consecutive games at new Busch, but there were 12,283 no-shows.