The St. Louis Cardinals were as hot as the temperature – 99 degrees at game time – as they hammered out a season high 18 hits on the way to 12-2 thrashing of the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday afternoon in the sauna known as Busch Stadium.

The Cards struck first in the bottom of the 1st inning when Ryan Ludwick launched his tenth home run of the year, a 3-run shot, into the left field stands to bring home David Eckstein and Albert Pujols who had each singled.

Los Angeles got a couple of runs back in their next turn at bat. Luis Gonzalez, who had walked, scored on a Andre Ethier triple. Ethier then came home on a Ramon Martinez sacrifice fly.

In the 3rd inning, the Cardinals batted around and then some, scoring five times. They led off with three straight hits to produce the first run. Rick Ankiel doubled, moved to third on an Albert Pujols single, then came home on Ryan Ludwick’s base hit. They scored a second run in the inning when So Taguchi, who reached base on a fielder’s choice, stole second, moved to third on a fielder’s choice, then scored on an Aaron Miles single. The third run was scored by Gary Bennett, who had reached first on a fielder’s choice, moved to second on the Miles single, then crossed the plate when starting pitcher Anthony Reyes singled. Brendan Ryan, recalled Saturday from Triple-A Memphis to replace Adam Kennedy, who has been placed on the 15 day disabled list with a torn medial meniscus in his right knee, then doubled to bring home Miles with the inning’s fourth run. A David Eckstein infield single brought home Reyes with run number 5 in the 3rd inning.

Not content with their big lead, the Cardinals rallied for two runs in the 5th. Aaron Miles, who had reached first base on his third straight single, was sacrificed to second and scored ahead of Brendan Ryan, who smacked his 3rd home run over the left field wall.

The Cardinals scored twice more in the bottom of the 8th. Miles, who had walked, went to second on a So Taguchi single, then scored on a Gary Bennett single. Taguchi, who moved to second on Bennett’s base hit, then scored on Aaron Miles’ fourth single of the day.

The 18 St. Louis hits were spread around. Everyone in the starting lineup picked up at least 1 hit and scored at least 1 run.

Reyes (2-12) pitched 6 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 7 hits, while striking out 5 to get the win. L.A. starter and losing pitcher Mark Hendrickson (4-7) lasted only 2 2/3 innings, giving up 8 runs – all of them earned – on 11 hits.

The Cards have announced Kennedy will undergo surgery in the coming week, and will likely be out for four to six weeks.

The Cardinals (55-60) have an off day on Monday before getting back into action Tuesday against the Brewers in Milwaukee. Kip Wells (5-13) takes the mound for the Redbirds against Milwaukee’s Chris Capuano (5-9).



Download/Listen: Cards’ winning pitcher Anthony Reyes (2:30 MP3)