Padres relievers secure 5-3 win in St. Louis
Winning on the road has been a rare experience for San Diego. Doing it in the third version of Busch Stadium has been even tougher.
The Padres did both Saturday night, snapping a 10-game road losing streak that dated to June 29 and winning for just the seventh time in 26 attempts at Busch with a 5-3 victory over St. Louis.
It was just the 16th win in 48 away games for San Diego (43-55), which prevailed for just the fifth time in 24 games after sitting in second place in the National League West as recently as June 28.
"Our pitching did a nice job tonight," Padres manager Bud Black said. "You look at that lineup and their batting average, their average with runners in scoring position, how many runs they've scored ... to hold them to four hits was outstanding."
All four hits and the three runs came off starter Edinson Volquez, who needed 107 pitches to get through five innings and qualify for a win that upped his record to 7-8. The bullpen took care of the rest with four hitless innings.
Huston Street worked a 1-2-3 ninth to garner his 16th save, but the game's biggest pitch might have come from the left arm of Joe Thatcher in the eighth.
After Thatcher gave up a two-out walk to Jon Jay, he had to face Carlos Beltran, the Cardinals' leader in homers with 19. With Jay running on a 1-2 pitch, Thatcher snuck a cutter over the outside corner for a called third strike, drawing loud boos from a sellout crowd of 45,288.
"I saw Jay running and knew he had a good jump," Thatcher said, "so it was just a matter of executing the pitch. (Catcher) Nick (Hundley) was coming out for the throw, so he couldn't frame it. I made a good pitch against a great hitter."
San Diego got some valuable insurance in its half of the ninth when Carlos Quentin rifled a 99 mph fastball from Trevor Rosenthal off the base of the left-center field wall, scoring Chase Headley from first.
But most of the Padres' damage came in the first three innings as they used six hits, three walks and an ill-timed wild pitch to plate four runs off Lance Lynn (11-5).
Jedd Gyorko's two-out RBI single past diving second baseman Matt Carpenter chased Headley home in the first. Everth Cabrera's sacrifice fly in the second scored Alexi Amarista to make it 2-0.
In the third, Lynn uncorked a bases-loaded wild pitch with Hundley hitting, scoring Yonder Alonso. Hundley then dribbled a broken-bat single down the third base line for the fourth run.
"I like how we jumped out early and kept adding on to the lead," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We had six runs off 13 hits Friday night and I thought we built on it. We took some tough pitches, took our walks and got some clutch hits."
It was the fourth loss in five starts for Lynn, who retired the last seven batters he faced but only fanned one in 91 pitches spanning five innings.
"He's had a couple of weird starts and when those start to compound, you've got to stop and regroup, and it didn't look like he was able to do that tonight," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Lynn. "That wasn't how we drew it up."
The Cardinals responded in the fourth with Allen Craig's two-run single, giving him 76 RBIs and moving him within one of National League co-leaders Paul Goldschmidt and Brandon Phillips.
St. Louis (58-37) cut the deficit to 4-3 in the fifth when pinch-hitter Brock Peterson grounded out to short, scoring David Freese. It was the first big league at-bat for Peterson, who was purchased from Triple-A Memphis on Saturday after 11 seasons in the minors.
That was it for the Cardinals, but they maintained a two-game lead in their division as Cincinnati nipped second place Pittsburgh 5-4.
NOTES: St. Louis LF Matt Holliday (strained right hamstring) was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 12. Holliday was injured in the fourth inning of a July 11 loss to the Chicago Cubs. He is hitting .268. ... Peterson hit .306 for the Redbirds with a Pacific Coast League-high 22 homers and 66 RBIs ... Headley batted second for the second straight night after hitting third or fourth in his first 81 games this season.
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