ST. LOUIS -- The last two times Ian Snell has beaten the Cardinals on the road, he's knocked them back to .500. This time, it really had to hurt for St. Louis.
Snell threw seven scoreless innings to end a six-game road losing streak since winning in St. Louis on April 16, and the Pittsburgh Pirates halted a five-game losing streak, routing Kip Wells 11-0 on Monday.
The Cardinals, coming off a three-game sweep over the Reds, entered the day two games back of the Cubs in the NL Central. On Sunday, the defending World Series champions moved above .500 for the first time since April 15.
Snell sent them back to 67-67, just as he evened their record at 6-6 in mid-April.
"Today was a great start for him," catcher Ronny Paulino said. "He was throwing his fastball in and out. He wasn't just throwing it in there, he was making it happen."
Jack Wilson matched a career high with four hits, including a two-run home run, and had three RBI as the Pirates emerged from a skid in which they were outscored 35-13. Paulino and Freddy Sanchez both went 3-for-4 with two RBI.
Wilson missed a chance to hit for the cycle in the ninth when he lined into a double play, although he said he hadn't been aware until St. Louis catcher Gary Bennett informed him.
"He goes 'Single, single, double, home run,"' Wilson said. "I was taking because he had just walked a guy on four pitches, but Bennett is a guy who's so nice he'll give me a first-pitch fastball just to try it. Sure enough."
The Pirates had 15 hits in 25 at-bats when reliever Andy Cavazos was chased in a five-run fifth that made it 11-0. They scored in each of the first five innings.
Cardinals pitchers gave up a double-digit run total for the 17th time this season, five of them in games started by Wells (6-16), and dropped back to .500. Wells and Jose Contreras of the White Sox are tied for the major league lead in losses.
"His biggest problem today was throwing the ball in the middle of the plate, mostly up where guys can get to it," manager Tony La Russa said. "That's his biggest problem, by the way.
"He put us in a big hole."
A good portion of a sellout crowd cheered when La Russa emerged from the dugout to yank Wells, who lasted 3 1/3 innings and gave up six runs and 10 hits. Wells was booed heavily as he left the field.
Wells entered 2-0 with an 0.75 ERA against his former team, beating them on May 23 to snap a personal worst seven-game losing streak. Wells was bumped from the rotation in mid-June after going 2-11 with a 6.93 ERA and lately he's been struggling again, going 0-3 with a 10.80 in his last three starts.
"Having already been through the adversity I've had this year, it's not like I'm going to bury myself," Wells said. "I'm just going to do what I can to give myself the best chance to be successful."
La Russa said it was too soon to discuss whether Wells, who has a 5.75 ERA, might get bumped again from a six-man rotation he and pitching coach Dave Duncan have assembled for a heavy September schedule. The Cardinals are finishing with 35 games in 34 days, and no days off.
Snell (9-11) allowed five hits and a season-high five walks in seven scoreless innings, striking out four and stranding the bases loaded in the fifth. He had been 1-6 with a 6.63 ERA in his previous 10 starts, and allowed a season-worst seven runs in 5 1/3 innings in his last outing.
Juan Perez and Romulo Sanchez finished up the six-hitter.
The Pirates' Xavier Nady left the game because of a bruise above the left ear after he was beaned by Cavazos in the fifth. The team said he did not sustain a concussion, and that he was day to day.
A concerned Cavazos, among the team's September callups, telephoned Nady during the game.
"It's not just a career, you're playing with someone's life," Cavazos said. "Until everything is fine with him, I'm going to be a little shaken up from that."
Nady said he reassured Cavazos.
"I said 'Don't even worry about it. I'll be fine,"' Nady said. "It's obviously scary on both parts. Hey, I'm still here."
Rick Ankiel, who was 6-for-12 with two homers and nine RBI in the three-game sweep over the Reds, was 0-for-2 with two walks, a popup and a strikeout.
Russell Branyan, acquired from the Phillies on Friday, finally made his St. Louis debut with a pinch-hit single in the fifth. He finished the game at third base, and struck out in the seventh. ... Bautista has 14 homers, four of them coming in the last 10 games. He eluded a tag at the plate by sneaking in his hand on a hook slide on a double by Sanchez in the third for a 4-0 lead.