Wells allowed five hits over eight innings and had two hits and two RBIs to help the Chicago Cubs deny Wainwright's bid for a 19th win in a 7-2 victory over the slumping St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
"I came here a lot when I was a kid. This was my team, it's no secret," said Wells, who is from nearby Belleville, Ill. "Wainwright's tough, you never go in thinking you're going to get two knocks and two RBIs off him. You know, I'll take it."
Xavier Nady had three hits and three RBIs and Darwin Barney had three hits and an RBI in a 15-hit attack for the Cubs, who have outscored St. Louis 12-3 while taking the first two games of a three-game series. The Cardinals remained seven games behind NL Central-leading Cincinnati with 19 games to go.
"The season has not gone how we thought it was going to go," Wainwright said. "But it's not over yet."
Wainwright has lost five of his last six starts, a fade that has coincided with the team's late-season slump. In all but one of the losses, he thought bad luck was a major factor with most of the damage on bloopers and bleeders finding holes.
"It's tough to explain, really," Wainwright said. "I didn't make very many bad pitches. It's a crazy game, man."
Chicago's 7-8-9 hitters totaled seven hits and three RBIs.
"Unbelievable," interim manager Mike Quade said. "We had some big hits all over the place."
Pujols missed only his second game of the season after getting a cortisone injection on Monday for left elbow tendinitis. Pujols said before the game that he anticipated he would be back in the lineup on Wednesday.
Pitching in Busch Stadium was a definite boost for Wells (7-13), who also said his changeup was much improved from recent outings. The right-hander won for only the second time in 10 starts, striking out five with no walks.
"Pitching is all about confidence," Wells said. "I've gone through some stretches where I haven't had a whole lot of confidence. I was able to keep guys off balance and attack the zone."
In nine starts dating to July 28, he had been 1-5 with a 5.88 ERA. Wells has nine hits this season, including three two-hit games, and is batting .188 (9-for-48) overall with three RBIs.
Wainwright, who had entered with a major league-leading 1.52 home ERA, was tagged for 12 hits -- matching his career worst -- and five runs in eight innings. Wainwright fell to 11-3 at home.
The right-hander had been 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in six starts the last two seasons against Chicago, and lost for the first time since Sept. 14, 2007, in St. Louis.
Wainwright struck out the side in the second but not before giving up two-out RBI singles to Barney and Wells. Marlon Byrd doubled with one out and scored on another two-out hit by Nady in the third.
The Cubs opened the fourth with three straight hits including Wells' run-scoring single, and Blake DeWitt added an RBI single for a 5-1 lead.
Jeff Samardzija was the 15th Cubs pitcher to win on Monday. ... Wainwright's previous worst was eight hits on June 9 at Los Angeles. ... The last Cardinals pitcher to work eight innings and give up at least 12 hits was Chris Carpenter in a 5-4 victory over Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs on July 19, 2004, in Chicago. Both games lasted 2 hours and 22 minutes. ... One of the Cardinals' hits was wasted when Yadier Molina was easily doubled off first after CF Marlon Byrd caught Pedro Feliz' liner in the gap. Molina had rounded second. ... Holliday is 10-for-23 during a six-game hitting streak.