Takeaways from the Padres’ 5-2 loss to the Cardinals

ST. LOUIS– Jose Martinez and Marcell Ozuna hit two-run home runs, Jedd Gyorko added in a solo shot, and Jack Flaherty pitched 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball, leading the Cardinals to a 5-2 win over the Padres on Monday evening.

St. Louis improved to 36-28 while San Diego fell to 31-37.

Takeaways

Lyles fails to get into groove

Jordan Lyles struggled on Monday, allowing 11 hits and four earned runs in six innings of work. His four runs allowed came via two home runs.

In the third, Jose Martinez hit a two-run home run to center field to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. Then, in the fifth, Marcell Ozuna crushed a 422-foot home run off of Lyles, accounting for the third and fourth runs of the night for the Cards.

Both Martinez (3-for-3) and Ozuna (2-for-3) had big games against the Padres right-hander. Yadier Molina and Yairo Munoz also recorded multi-hit performances.

“He (Lyles) battled. I am relatively pleased,” manager Andy Green stated. “He threw two flat pitches that were hit out. He gave us a opportunity to win, we just did not do much on offense.”

“For the most part, Jordan did a solid job for us today.”

For Lyles, he continues to struggle since May 15, when he took a perfect game into the 8th against the Colorado Rockies. He now has an 8.46 ERA in five starts since then, allowing 42 hits and eight home runs in 27 2/3 innings pitched.

The 27-year-old has given up 11 hits in back-to-back outings.

If there is a positive from Lyles’ performance, it is that he was able to give the Padres six innings. With Andy Green planning another bullpen game on Tuesday, his length preserved a few arms in the bullpen. Only Lyles and Phil Hughes pitched on the evening.

Flaherty impresses

Jack Flaherty ran into some trouble in the second inning on Monday, allowing a home run to Cory Spangenberg and singles by both Christian Villanueva and Raffy Lopez. He was able to get out of the inning with only one run allowed.

Following the aforementioned single by Lopez, Flaherty got into a groove and dominated. He retired 14 hitters in a row before walking Spangenberg in the top of the seventh, which ended his day at 98 pitches. The talented 22-year-old went 6 1/3 innings, allowing only three hits and one earned run. He struck out six and walked one, inducing 14 swinging strikes.

“They (the Cardinals) should be really excited about him,” Green said.

The former first round draft pick is now 3-2 with a 2.96 ERA in eight starts this season.

Villanueva reaches three times

Christian Villanueva reached base three times against the Cardinals. In the second, he lined a sharply-hit ball off the left field wall for a single. The ball was hit so hard that left fielder Marcell Ozuna was able to get it back into the infield quickly, holding Villanueva at first base with a long single.

In the seventh, the Mexico native worked an impressive eight pitch walk as part of a rally which loaded the bases. He ended up being stranded at second.

He reached for a third time in the ninth when a Bud Norris fastball clipped him in the elbow.

RISP struggles

The Padres entered play with the second best batting average in the National League with runners in scoring position (.264). They were unable to record a hit with a runner there on Monday, going 0-for-6.

The best chance that San Diego had to capitalize on the RISP success was in the seventh, when back-to-back-to-back walks loaded the bases with one out. However, Raffy Lopez and Jose Pirela both went down swinging to end the threat.

Strahm to start tomorrow

Manager Andy Green announced after the game that Matt Strahm will start for the Padres tomorrow. It is expected to be a bullpen game.