ST. LOUIS -- Paul Maholm had to face Albert Pujols in his last Spring Training start, and the former Cardinals slugger homered off the Cubs lefty. It wasn't a surprise. Pujols has a career .564 average against him.
Afterward, Maholm joked that's why he didn't consider joining any teams in the American League West over the offseason so he could avoid Pujols, who had signed with the Angels. It didn't matter Sunday.
Matt Carpenter had four hits and five RBIs and Yadier Molina added a three-run homer to lift the Pujols-less Cardinals to a 10-3 victory over the Cubs on Jackie Robinson Day.
Maholm (0-2) was looking for his first win since last July 10. Instead, the lefty now is winless in his last nine starts.
"It'd be nice to break that streak," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "I think sometimes it does weigh on you. It's almost like a hitting slump -- when am I going to get that next hit? You do things or maybe you're pressing."
But Maholm denied losing sleep over it.
"I couldn't tell you when the last time I won," he said. "My goal is to go out there and go seven innings and win the game no matter how the outing before went, whether it was good or bad. That's what I'll get straight next week when I take it. I'm going to go deep in the game, and we're going to win."
For the second time, he didn't last long enough to even qualify for a "W," getting pulled after four innings. In both of his Cubs starts, he's given up six runs and six hits.
"It was kind of the same thing as the first start -- you give them baserunners, and they took advantage of it," Maholm said. "It's frustrating, but I'm going to bust it this week and make sure I get through it and I get back to where I was."
Carlos Beltran was hit by a pitch and Molina walked to set up Carpenter's RBI single in the second. Another run scored on Shane Robinson's fielder's choice. Maholm did get ground balls but couldn't get the double plays when needed.
In the St. Louis third, Matt Holliday hit an RBI single and Molina connected on his third homer of the year to make it 6-0.
Carpenter hit a two-run homer off Lendy Castillo in the fifth, the first of his career and an impressive 428-foot shot to center. The Cubs 'pen had given up one run over 10 2/3 innings prior to the home run. Carpenter also added a two-run triple in the seventh.
"It wasn't real pretty again," Sveum said of Maholm's outing. "He's just not keeping the sinker down. He did get some double-play balls there, but we weren't able to turn them. The command, making the pitch when he needed to make the pitch, he hasn't been able to do that so far."
The Cubs didn't have much of a scouting report on Carpenter, who was filling in at first for an injured Lance Berkman.
"We knew a little bit from [first-base coach Dave McKay], who had seen him in Spring Training," Sveum said. "He hadn't seen him this good. He's definitely a nice weapon in their already good lineup."
Sveum altered his lineup, giving Blake DeWitt, Joe Mather, Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker starts. For his career, Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook (2-0) has handled both left-handed and right-handed hitters, but last season, righties definitely had an edge, hitting .316 off him compared to .260.
"They got the lead, and he can sink the ball," Sveum said of Westbrook. "We get some people on with two outs, and he was able to sink the ball and spotted the ball really well inside and got some jam shots."
The Cubs couldn't muster much. They tallied in the fourth as Johnson singled, and scored two batters later on a wild pitch. Geovany Soto doubled to lead off the fifth, moved up on an error and scored on Johnson's groundout. Johnson doubled with one out in the eighth and scored on Starlin Castro's infield single in the eighth.
With the loss, the Cubs dropped the series. A win would've matched last season's victory total at Busch Stadium (two).
"It would've been nice after winning game one to win the series, but we have to do things a little bit better," Sveum said. "We have to make our pitches when we have to and stay away from slugging percentage. We didn't do that too well in this series. They didn't hit a lot of home runs, but there were a lot of doubles and triples with guys on base."
The Cubs dropped to 3-7 overall, but it's only April, outfielder Joe Mather said.
"I think we feel we're a competitive team," Mather said. "By the end of the season, if we play the way we think we can, we feel we can, we have a shot. We're 3-7, but it's still very early. Going forward, I think the way we worked in Spring Training, everyone's excited to get into the season and get into a groove. I think once we do, we'll be fine."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.