ST. LOUIS -- A blustery day at Busch Stadium made the ballpark seem a whole lot smaller. In the end, the wind was blowing the St. Louis Cardinals' way.
"I'm sitting on slider, he threw it and I hit it kind of straight up in the air," Ludwick said. "But I knew the wind was blowing out pretty good, and I got lucky.
"It got out of the ballpark and thank goodness, it's a 'W."'
Center fielder B.J. Upton may have jammed his shoulder at the wall, grabbing it after coming down empty, but manager Joe Maddon said he was OK.
"It was the first question I asked him, and he said he was fine," Maddon said.
Carlos Pena's three-run shot in the seventh inning on a ball to center that seemed destined for the warning track helped the erase the Rays' four-run deficit.
Ludwick also homered in the fourth and drew a bases-loaded walk and Albert Pujols homered with two RBI a day after his 42-game streak of reaching base ended, helping the Cardinals win for only the third time in 11 games. The AL East-leading Rays lost for just the second time in 10 games.
"The ball was really carrying in all directions," La Russa said. "The three-run homer that Pena hit, that's not a home run here most of the time. Neither was the home run in the 10th."
Ludwick hit the first pitch from Wheeler (0-3) with one out an estimated 402 feet and just over the wall in left-center for the second winning homer of his career. He has four career two-homer games, including two this season.
Ryan Franklin (2-1) allowed two walks in two scoreless innings.
The Rays erased a pair of four-run deficits behind 18 hits, tying the franchise record, to top their previous season best by three. Pena's three-run homer off Randy Flores in the seventh made it a one-run game and Evan Longoria's bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the eighth off Kyle McClellan tied it.
Matt Garza failed to make it out of the fifth, ending a 10-game run of brilliance for Rays starters in which they combined for a 1.03 ERA. Jason Bartlett singled four times and Crawford and Upton each had three hits.
All that offense was somewhat negated by five runners getting thrown out on the bases, including Upton twice.
"We made up for the minimal amount of mistakes that we had not been making all in one day," Maddon said. "I'm not pleased with it. We can't do that kind of stuff."
Adam Wainwright endured his second straight shaky outing, allowing four runs on 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings while being aided by a pickoff and a runner caught stealing. The Cardinals' opening-day starter gave up six earned runs in six innings in his previous outing at Milwaukee.
Evan Longoria was picked off first by catcher Yadier Molina to end the first and Crawford was caught stealing to end the second, setting the tone. Upton was caught stealing in the fifth on a nifty play at third by Glaus, who made the tag behind his back and between his legs, and Upton was an easy out trying to advance to third on Longoria's game-tying sacrifice fly when the throw to the plate was cut off. Gabe Gross was thrown out trying to steal second on a strikeout-double play to end the ninth.
The top of the Cardinals' order opened a four-run fifth, the biggest in the first five games of a six-game homestand, with three straight hits including an RBI single that Pujols lofted to left for a 4-3 lead. Rays pitchers faced 56 consecutive batters without a walk the first two games of the series before Glaus walked on four pitches to load the bases and Ludwick drove in a run with a five-pitch walk in consecutive at-bats and a second run scored on Molina's infield hit when Bartlett, the shortstop, made a wild and late throw to second in a force attempt.
The Rays were 6-for-6 with two outs while taking a 3-2 lead before Gross flied out to right with two on and two out to end the third.
- Crawford snapped a 3-20 slump his previous five games.
- Pena has only three homers in the last 31 games after hitting six in the first 11.
- Glaus had an two-run single in the first and is 11-for-22 with six RBI his last five games.
- Garza threw a first-pitch strike to only 10 of 25 batters.
- La Russa earned his 2,400th career victory.
- The hits against Wainwright were a career high.
- Bartlett's error was only the fourth in 23 games for the Rays.
- Miles is batting .458 (22-for-48) in interleague play the last two seasons and .349 (61-for-175) for his career.
- La Russa said Rick Ankiel, who did not play, has a sore shoulder from a swing on Friday.