ST. LOUIS -- Jake Westbrook wasn't totally pleased with his pitching Friday night.
The same couldn't be said for his hitting.
Working 6 1/3 effective innings while going 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI at the plate, Westbrook led St. Louis to a 9-6 win over slumping San Diego at Busch Stadium.
While keeping his earned run average at 2.88, Westbrook (6-4) enjoyed the first multi-hit game of his career. He entered the game 2-for-20 on the season with an RBI and had just 18 hits in 155 career at-bats prior to his career night.
"I surprised myself a little bit," Westbrook said. "I ran into a few ... it was a fun game."
Westbrook started scoring rallies in the third and fifth innings with a single and double, respectively, and chased Jason Marquis (9-5) in the sixth when he stroked an RBI single up the middle for a 4-0 Cardinals lead.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said his pitchers take their at-bats seriously.
"It frustrates them when they don't get hits," he said. "They talk smack non-stop. So they're probably dreading what Jake's going to say."
For Padres manager Bud Black, it was just the latest chapter in a lurid stretch that has seen his team lose 19 of 23 games and fall from second to last place in the mediocre National League West at 42-55.
"You wouldn't expect (Westbrook) to get three hits after coming in here 2-for-20," Black said. "But that's baseball."
Following its pitcher's lead, St. Louis (58-36) pounded out 14 hits against Marquis and two relievers. Matt Carpenter went 3-for-4, including a two-run single off reliever Colt Hynes in the sixth that made it 6-0, and drove in three runs.
Yadier Molina tacked on a two-run double in a three-run seventh off reliever Sean O'Sullivan. Shortstop Pete Kozma added two hits and an RBI, giving him multi-hit games for the first time in over a month.
All the offense proved useful when San Diego scored three runs in the top of the ninth, forcing Matheny to wave closer Edward Mujica in from the bullpen. Mujica picked up the last two outs for his 27th save in 29 chances.
The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the third when Carlos Beltran stroked the first of his two sacrifice flies to score Westbrook, who led off with a single.
Westbrook then escaped a major jam in the fourth.
San Diego filled the bases with one out on singles by Jedd Gyorko and Will Venable, and a walk to Alexi Amarista. But Westbrook induced a 4-6-3 double play ball from Nick Hundley to keep the Padres scoreless.
"I made some pitches when I had to," Westbrook said. "I got away with some things. There were so many fly balls. I could have pitched a little better."
Westbrook started a two-run fifth by doubling over Venable's head in right field. Carpenter ripped a double to left-center and scored two batters later on Beltran's second sacrifice fly.
St. Louis recorded eight hits and six runs over 5 1/3 innings against Marquis, who is 0-3 in his last six starts and lost for just the third time in nine career decisions against one of his former teams.
The Cardinals extended their NL Central lead to two games as second-place Pittsburgh lost at Cincinnati 5-3.
"It was a good start to the second half," Westbrook said.
NOTES: St. Louis LF Matt Holliday (hamstring) sat out his fourth straight game, although he was available for pinch-hitting duty if needed. Holliday said he felt a little tightness running during pregame warmups ... Starting with Friday night's game, San Diego will play 17 of its next 21 games against teams with winning records. The exception is a four-game series Monday through Thursday in Milwaukee ... The Cardinals announced Friday that RHP Chris Carpenter (right shoulder) will make his second rehab start Saturday night in Memphis (AAA) against Oklahoma City. They also recalled RHP Fernando Salas from Memphis, where he'd been on a rehab assignment since late June.