Petco Park- San Diego, California
On the final day celebrating the Padres’ 1998 team, Clayton Richard pitched eight solid innings and struck out 10 in a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. Adam Wainwright, who has battled multiple injuries this year, lasted only 2.1 innings for the Cards.
St. Louis won the first two games of the four-game series 2-1 and 9-5, but the Padres prevailed in 13 innings Saturday night, as well as in Sunday’s game. With the loss, St. Louis falls to second place in the National League Central, 0.5 games behind the surprising Milwaukee Brewers.
Richard seems to be getting stronger as the season goes on. In his previous outing, he gave up three runs in eight innings with eight strikeouts in a loss to the Washington Nationals. However, Wainwright has been trending in the opposite direction. Now 36, the former ace has a career record of 147-83 with a 3.29 ERA/1.21 WHIP.
But time may have caught up with him. Wainwright had arthroscopic surgery last October, then started this season on the disabled list with a strained hamstring and went down again with elbow inflammation. On Sunday, he gave up three hits and two runs as well as six walks in his short outing. He threw 33 pitches in the first inning alone and did not resemble his former self. In fact, the Cardinals announced he might be headed back to the DL after the game.
John Gant replaced him, and the Padres scored two runs on four hits in his 3.2 innings. In the bottom of the eighth, San Diego scored a fifth run off reliever Matt Bowman.
The Padres prevailed despite leaving eight men on base and going only 3 for 9 with runners in scoring position. In the first inning, the team had the bases loaded but didn’t score. Finally, in the third inning, Cory Spangenberg put the Padres on the board with a single that scored Eric Hosmer. With Jose Pirela on third, Freddy Galvis hit a sacrifice fly to give the team a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, the Padres scored two more, but the Cardinals started to chip away and also scored two runs. In the bottom of the eighth, pinch-hitter Carlos Asuaje drove in Galvis with a sacrifice fly and gave the Padres a 5-2 lead.
Brad Hand, who had pitched two innings in Saturday’s game, came in to close out the game, but made it a bit more interesting by giving up a home run to Harrison Bader in the top of the ninth. Despite two walks and a wild pitch, Hand closed out the game with strikeouts against Carson Kelly and Kolten Wong.
Winning the final two against one of the elite franchises in the history of the game should give the Padres a boost. On Monday, the Colorado Rockies (in second place in the National League West with a 22-19 record) come to town for a two-game series.