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PHI@STL: Molina launches a first-inning grand slam

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals needed a spark, and Yadier Molina provided it.

Molina blasted a first-inning grand slam, Carlos Beltran and Matt Adams hit home runs and Adam Wainwright allowed one run over six innings in the Cardinals' 8-3 win against the Phillies in the series finale at Busch Stadium on Sunday.

"That was something that we needed," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Molina's grand slam. "We needed that spark. It seems like we've been fighting out of the hole consistently here for a while. To have a little bit of a lead was a nice change. It gave Adam room to do what he needed to do."

The offensive outburst -- with Molina, Adams, Skip Schumaker and Matt Holliday each contributing two hits of the team's 11 total -- coupled with Wainwright's second straight strong start and outstanding defense from shortstop Rafael Furcal, helped St. Louis (26-22) snap a three-game losing streak against the Phillies (25-24).

"Every time you take the lead against one of the best pitchers in the game, it's huge," Molina said. "We needed this win. I'm proud for our team. I'm glad that we got the win today for the whole team and for Waino, too."

Wainwright (4-5) scattered seven hits over his six innings. He struck out two and walked none while throwing 87 pitches, 58 for strikes. The right-hander, who tossed a four-hit shutout in his last outing, has allowed three earned runs over his last 20 2/3 innings.

"I was just trying to keep that ball rolling," Wainwright said. "I made some good adjustments and I wanted to make sure they weren't short-lived. I wanted to make sure I stayed in the moment and went pitch by pitch and kept the focus on executing."

After going 0-3 with a 7.32 ERA in four starts in April, Wainwright is 4-2 with a 3.00 ERA (13 earned runs in 39 innings) over six starts in May.

He said he's happy with where he is at right now.

"At this point, I'm just out there pitching," Wainwright said. "I feel comfortable on the mound again. I feel like the old me is the new me. I don't think we have to talk about that anymore. I think it's just a matter of going out there and executing pitches."

What had looked like a potential pitchers' duel turned quickly as the Cardinals jumped on Roy Halladay (4-5) in the first inning.

Schumaker and Holliday hit one-out singles to left and David Freese drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Molina then cleared them by driving an 0-1 pitch over the wall in right-center field for the third grand slam of his career and his seventh home run of the season.

"You're walking into this thing knowing we're facing Roy and the competitor that he is," Matheny said. "Throwing Adam out there, you just felt like we're walking into a heavyweight bout, and we were just going to have to slug it out. Waino was sharp. The guys came out ready to go. The hit by Yadi, the home run, was a big deal to just give us that shot in the arm. You could tell it was a different atmosphere at that point."

Halladay was pinch-hit for in the third inning after the pitcher experienced right shoulder soreness and was replaced by lefty Joe Savery. Halladay allowed four earned runs on four hits in two innings.

The Phillies got on the board in the third when Mike Fontenot led off with a single and scored on a two-out RBI single by Juan Pierre to make it 4-1.

Molina left Sunday's game at the beginning of an at-bat in the fifth inning due to dehydration.

"I was seeing the pitcher, like three pitchers," Molina said. "That wasn't a good feeling. I stepped out of the box, and when I looked out at the pitcher, I was kind of dizzy. It was scary. It's the first time it's happened to me."

Adams just missed his first career homer in the fourth inning when Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino made a leaping catch at the wall in right-center. But there was no doubt in the sixth inning as he deposited the first pitch he saw from reliever Chad Qualls into the stands in right field for an 8-1 Cards' lead.

"It just felt so good," Adams said. "It felt good off the bat and I just hoped it kept carrying."

The rookie first baseman is now hitting .345 with four doubles, one homer and two RBIs in his first eight games.

"He's been hitting the ball hard," Matheny said. "He lines out to end the game. He had a double. He had a nice day. I don't even think he really got into that one. He's got some nice power and he doesn't have to over-generate to get it. He's just nice and short to the ball, and the ball jumps for him pretty good. He had a nice day. It was good to get that first one under his belt."

The Phillies scored a run in the eighth off of reliever Victor Marte, with Pierre scoring on a forceout by Victorino. Pierre then drove in a run with two outs in the ninth inning off rookie reliever Chuckie Fick, and Mitchell Boggs was then called on to get the final out.

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