ST. LOUIS After three perfect innings, Edinson Volquez barely qualified for the decision. The San Diego Padres’ bullpen picked up their starter by silencing the league’s top offense.
Nick Vincent, Dale Thayer, Luke Gregorson and Huston Street worked an inning apiece after Volquez (7-8) faded at the end of a five-inning outing in a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night.
“Tough team, no doubt about that,” manager Bud Black said. “Look at the batting average, RBIs, what they do with runners in scoring position.
“Four no-hit innings. Outstanding.”
Street was perfect in the ninth for his 16th save in 17 chances after Carlos Quentin’s RBI double off Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth put the Padres up by two runs. The Cardinals entered the game leading the league with a .278 average but managed just a pair of walks the last four innings.
“We have a really good offense and sometimes it’s just not going to happen for you,” said St. Louis’ Allen Craig, who had a two-run single.
Lance Lynn (11-5) lost for the fourth time in five starts, allowing four runs in five innings.
Manager Mike Matheny said Lynn “just never had a feel for his fastball,” and took note of “body language” and ponderous pacing.
“He’s had a couple 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,” Matheny said. “It was pretty slow and it was talked about, but you also don’t rush a guy when he doesn’t have a good feel for his fastball.
“That wasn’t how we drew it up.”
The only run for the Cardinals came on 29-year-old rookie Brock Peterson’s RBI groundout in his first major league at-bat after getting called up to replace injured Matt Holliday.
Jedd Gyorko, Everth Cabrera and Nick Hundley added an RBI apiece for San Diego, which had lost 19 of 23.
A sellout crowd of 45,288 showed up in 92-degree heat, enticed by Red Schoendienst replica jersey giveaways. The 90-year-old Cardinals Hall of Famer was honored with a video tribute before the third inning as he watched the game from a private box.
The Padres had nine base runners the first three innings while taking a 4-0 lead, scoring twice in the third on a run-scoring wild pitch on a 2-2 pitch against Hundley followed by Hundley’s broken-bat infield hit.
Volquez retired the first nine batters in order, then allowed three runs on four hits, two walks and two wild pitches in the fourth and fifth. He lost his previous two starts and hasn’t lasted longer than 5 1/3 innings his last three outings.
“It was tough,” Volquez said. “They’ve got a pretty good lineup and there were a lot of foul balls, too. My pitching count was a little bit high.”
Lynn has been an 11-game winner prior to the All-Star break both years in the St. Louis rotation, benefiting this year from an offense averaging nearly six runs per start. He’s been out of sync lately, giving up 10 runs in 9 1/3 innings his last two starts, and worked very deliberately against the Padres.
“You’re going to go through phases when you don’t go as deep as you like and I’m in one of those phases right now,” Lynn said. “Hopefully I’ll turn it around quick. A starter going five is not going to get it done, if that’s what you’re asking.”
NOTES: Adam Wainwright (12-5) goes for his league-leading 13th win in the series finale Sunday with Eric Stultz (8-7) going for the Padres. … Cardinals RHP Chris Carpenter labored in his second rehab start, giving up four runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings for Memphis. … Cardinals outfielders combined for four sacrifice hits for the first time in franchise history Friday, two bunts by Jon Jay and two sacrifice flies by Carlos Beltran. … Peterson led the Pacific Coast League with 22 homers.