ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright ran his bulldog streak to 23 straight starts of six or more innings, the longest in the major leagues.
Wainwright joined Boston's Josh Beckett as the only 14-game winners in the majors and contributed his fifth career homer to a 15-hit attack in a 9-2 victory.
"It feels pretty good," Wainwright said with a wide grin. "It'll feel a lot better when we win the World Series, that's the goal. However many games it takes."
The Cardinals battered Latos (4-2) for seven runs and eight hits in four-plus innings. The 21-year-old had won his previous four starts, and was the first pitcher in Padres history to win four of his first five career starts.
"I gave them too much credit and started nitpicking," Latos said. "I couldn't get strike one. I tried to be too perfect, instead of just going right at them."
Manager Bud Black said Latos had good stuff, but it wasn't not good enough against the NL Central leaders.
"I just think you saw a veteran team sort of wait him out and have good at-bats," Black said. "Then when they stressed him there in the fifth inning, he couldn't wiggle his way out."
Matt Holliday had three hits and three RBI and his two-run single in the fifth was a key blow for the Cardinals, who have won six of seven and have beaten the Padres seven straight at home. Holliday has three straight three-hit games and is batting .493 in 19 games with St. Louis.
Wainwright (14-7) scattered eight hits in seven innings, his 10th straight start allowing two or fewer earned runs. He escaped his only real trouble in the seventh when the Padres loaded the bases with three straight one-out singles by getting pinch-hitter Luis Rodriguez on a double-play ball.
"He just makes a ton of good pitches," manager Tony La Russa said. "He was excellent."
St. Louis' slow-footed catcher Yadier Molina contributed his seventh stolen base in eight attempts -- he's two away from tying the franchise record for the position -- to go with two hits and an RBI.
Wainwright hasn't walked a batter in 23 2/3 innings over four starts dating to July 28. His second homer of the season wasn't window dressing, either, a rocket over the left-field wall leading off the third for the Cardinals' first run.
"I heard the crowd roar as soon as I hit it," Wainwright said. "That's one of the better experiences. I can get wood on a bullet if it's straight."
The hard-throwing Latos had been holding opponents to a .190 average and was coming off successive victories over the Mets, Braves, Reds and Nationals before getting cuffed around by St. Louis. Holliday's bases-loaded single through a drawn-in infield on a full count with no outs in the fifth put the Cardinals ahead 5-0, and Ryan Ludwick and Molina added RBI singles off Edward Mujica later in the inning.
Last month, Latos worked a scoreless fourth inning in the All-Star Futures Game in St. Louis.
The Padres averted a shutout on Kevin Kouzmanoff's two-run homer off Jason Motte in the ninth. Motte has allowed nine homers in 41 2/3 innings.
The Cardinals will give rookie RHP Mitchell Boggs, who replaced injured Todd Wellemeyer in a 5-4 loss to the Reds on Tuesday, another shot as the fifth starter on Tuesday at Los Angeles. Chris Carpenter will jump ahead of him in the rotation, however, with a day off Thursday putting the 12-game winner on regular rest. ... C Tom Pagnozzi stole nine bases for St. Louis in 1991, although in 22 attempts, and Tim McCarver was 9 for 15 in 1966. ... The Cardinals turned three double plays for a season total of 126. They entered tied for first in the NL with Houston. ... Holliday is a career .463 hitter at 4-year-old Busch with eight homers and 18 RBI.