ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright never welcomed being the example for the universal designated hitter advocates, who quickly pointed to the Achilles injury he suffered breaking from the batters' box last April as another reason why pitchers didn't need to hit.
Despite the injury, Wainwright would retort, he had no interest in giving up his bat.
Now that bat is carrying Wainwright where his arm hasn't, which was again the case in Monday's 10-3 win over the Phillies. His three-run blast was the first of five home runs the Cardinals mustered against Jeremy Hellickson and Brett Oberholtzer, giving the Cardinals their second five-homer game of the season.
Last season, they had none.
"Every time I've come to the plate since I was 8 years old I dreamed about hitting a ball like that," said Wainwright, who hadn't gone deep since 2012. "I've hit some really far homers in Little League or whatever. But I've never hit a ball, felt it, and known it was gone. I knew that was going to be a home run."
Everyone else did, too.
Said his batterymate, Yadier Molina: "I was jumping around here like a little kid."
"He got all of it," added manager Mike Matheny. "We talk about him and his leadership. We don't necessarily think about the offensive side, but why not?"
Wainwright's seventh career home run was certainly no poke. He dropped it into the second deck beyond left field after connecting at an exit velocity of 105 mph. The double he hit an inning earlier had come off his bat even harder. In fact, of the 11 balls Wainwright has put in play this season, five have had an exit velocity of 100-plus mph. That's more than any other pitcher in baseball.
Not long after Wainwright became the first Cardinals pitcher since Chris Carpenter in 2009 to homer, double and collect three RBIs in game, the rest of the offense followed.
For the first time in Busch Stadium III history, the Cardinals connected for back-to-back homers twice in the same game. Matt Adams, who showed a diversity of skills by dropping down a bunt single four innings before he drilled a pitch 422 feet, teamed up with Aledmys Diaz for the first pair of consecutive blasts.
Even more unlikely were the back-to-back homers an inning later by Kolten Wong and Randal Grichuk. Wong had been held without an extra-base hit all year, while Grichuk entered the game as a pinch-hitter mired in an 0-for-20 skid.
"I think we were kind of pressing a little bit," Grichuk said, speaking more generally of the team, which had lost four straight coming into the night. "A few losses can get you playing a little stiff. We talked and said, 'Have fun out there and wins will follow.'"
The five home runs helped the Cardinals leapfrog Colorado and Arizona to reclaim the Majors' top spot with 40. Last season, the Cardinals did not hit their 40th home run until the final day of May.
"You need those games when the team is not going in a good direction," Matheny said, "just to reaffirm the kind of team that I believe we have."