Ludwick hit a pair of two-run homers, Adam Wainwright pitched eight strong innings and the St. Louis Cardinals salvaged a split by beating the Chicago Cubs 4-2 in the nightcap of Sunday's doubleheader.
Wainwright improved to 3-0 against the Cubs this season and St. Louis leads the NL-Central by 2½ games heading into the All-Star break. Chicago (43-43) is .500, 3½ games out.
Ludwick also had a double in the eighth to finish the doubleheader 5 for 8 with four RBI and four extra base hits. He is batting .455 during a nine-game hitting streak. Pujols was 1 for 8 with two RBI in the doubleheader, including 0 for 4 in the nightcap.
With Ludwick heating up, Pujols, who leads the majors in home runs and RBI, doesn't need to supply all the muscle for the Cardinals.
"I went through a huge rut. One of the biggest ruts I've ever been through. In the middle of the rut I really started pressing bad and then I just really tried to start having good at-bats and not worrying about results," said Ludwick, who had an 0 for 14 skid in June.
• Game 1: Cubs 7, Cards 3
In the opener, Carlos Zambrano homered for the third time this season and earned a win with six solid innings as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 7-3.
The second game featured some unusual maneuvering by Cubs manager Lou Piniella in the ninth inning. With no outs and the bases loaded, Piniella moved left-handed reliever Sean Marshall to left for one batter and moved him back to the mound to face left-handed hitter Skip Schumaker.
"We did what we had to do to try to keep the game in check and it worked," said Piniella.
Marshall said he was surprised by Piniella's move.
"A little bit, then when he said it, it made sense because I knew who was coming up for the next two hitters. It was kind of funny to watch [Aaron] Heilman pitch because he was throwing so many pitches inside because if he does hit it will it will be right at me and hopefully I can make a play and throw someone out," said Marshall, who added the fans in the bleachers were chanting "We are Marshall."
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was so impressed by Piniella's move he stopped Cubs first base coach Matt Sinatro to pass on his message.
"I stopped Sinatro and said you tell Lou that was a classic. It was fun to be a part of it no matter how it turns out. It takes creativity and it takes guts. Lou showed both of them. That was fun actually. It was terrific," said La Russa.
The right-handed Heilman struck out Brendan Ryan with the bases loaded and Marshall in left. Schumaker was pinch-hit for by Jarrett Hoffpauir, and Marshall struck out him. Left fielder Reed Johnson made a diving catch, though replays showed he appeared catch the ball on a short-hop, on Colby Rasmus' fly to end the inning.
Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin struck out the side in the ninth for his 21st save in 22 chances.
Cubs starter Randy Wells (4-4) handled Pujols in the second game, but couldn't get out Ludwick. Wells got Pujols to hit into a doubleplay with runners on first and second in the first inning, and Ludwick followed with a two-run shot to center.
Wainwright (10-5) allowed two runs and scattered seven hits. He struck out five and walked three as the Cardinals split the four-game series.
Wells gave up a leadoff single to Rasmus in the sixth inning. Pujols followed with a groundout to third, but Ludwick tagged Wells again to put the Cardinals up 4-1. It was Ludwick's 15th of the season and his second multihomer game of the season.
Wells, who had won his last four decisions, gave up four runs on seven hits in seven innings.
"If we swing the bats and stay healthy we have a really good chance of winning the division. We have been through a lot, if we don't we'll see what happens. I'm curious myself believe it or not," Piniella said.
In the first game, Zambrano homered for the 19th time in his career, tops in franchise history for pitchers.
"My job is to pitch. That's the thing I know best," he said. "If they figure out how to pitch to me every day I don't think I would hit that many home runs."
Micah Hoffpauir had a three-run homer for the Cubs and Zambrano (5-4) allowed three runs and five hits.
St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse (4-5), who was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, struggled in his first appearance since leaving an outing against Cincinnati on June 3 because of a strained right forearm.
"Hoffpauir's first pitch [was] a curve," said Lohse, who allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings. "It wasn't a bad pitch but he jumped all over it. As the game went on I pitched pretty well."
- In the fifth inning of Game 2, with Wainwright at first base, Ryan hit into what appeared to be a doubleplay, but Wainwright deflected the ball with his right hand on the turn by Theriot. Wainwright did not show any signs of an injury to his hand.
- Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo missed the doubleheader to manage the World Team in the Futures Game in St. Louis. Joe Pettini took his place at third.