San Diego improved to 16-26 while St. Louis fell to 22-16.
Clayton Richard continues to tame Redbirds
Entering play on Sunday, Clayton Richard owned a 4-1 record with a 3.83 ERA in 14 appearances (seven starts) against St. Louis. The numbers against the Cardinals were even more impressive at Petco, where he held a 3-0 record with a gaudy 0.95 ERA.
The Padres’ southpaw kept his mastery of the Cardinals going on Sunday afternoon with eight solid innings. Richard allowed only five hits, two runs, and struck out a season-high ten batters. He was constantly around the plate; throwing 67 of his 102 pitches for strikes.
He also benefited from Chad Whitson’s pitcher-friendly strike zone behind the plate.
The 34-year-old is now tied with Dave Dravecky for third-most wins by a Padres left-handed pitcher (53). He also snapped a stretch of four straight starts with a losing decision. His last win had previously been on April 9th in Colorado.
“It’s fun seeing him pitch well. It was a great day for him and we needed it,” Andy Green stated after the game.
Making his fourth start of the season and his first from being activated off the 10-day DL, Adam Wainwright struggled mightily. The Cardinals’ right-hander allowed three hits, two runs, and walked six in only 2 1/3 innings; throwing only 38 of his 79 pitches for strikes.
Wainwright did benefit from a couple of double play balls to get out of danger in both the first and second innings, but he never looked comfortable. The 36-year-old had trouble commanding throughout his outing, constantly getting himself behind in counts.
His average fastball velocity was 87.6 miles-per-hour and he induced only two swinging strikes over the course of his 79 pitches.
Wainwright did strike out three batters, which means he is only two away from reaching 1,600 in his impressive career.
Manufacturing a run
Of the five runs that the Padres scored on the afternoon, perhaps the most impressive one came in the 8th inning off Cardinals reliever Matt Bowman.
In the bottom half of the 8th, Freddy Galvis led off the inning with a double into the left-center field gap.
Following the double, the Padres played some impressive situational baseball. Manuel Margot dropped a sacrifice bunt down to move Galvis over to third. Then, Carlos Asuaje worked a seven-pitch at-bat that ended in a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-2.
The Padres have had their troubles in terms of run production this season, so it was definitely a positive to see them produce a run like that.
The insurance ended up being needed, as it gave closer Brad Hand another run to work with and likely influenced how he pitched to the Carson Kelly and Kolten Wong with the bases loaded in the ninth.
Brad Hand bears down
Speaking of Hand…
Brad Hand entered the game with a three run cushion in the bottom of the ninth looking for his 11th save of the season. He ended up shutting the door, but it certainly did not come easy.
Harrison Bader led off the inning with one of the shorter home runs you will ever see at Petco Park; a 308-foot shot into the porch in right field. Hand then walked Jose Martinez and induced a ground-ball out off the bat of Marcell Ozuna.
Struggling with location, Hand walked Jedd Gyorko and hit Paul DeJong with a pitch to load the bases with one out.’
After a mound visit by pitching coach Darren Balsley, Hand struck out Carson Kelly and Kolten Wong on a combined seven pitches to close out the victory.
Galvis has strong showing
It is no secret that Padres SS Freddy Galvis has been scuffling as of late. Entering play today, the 28-year-old was sporting a .146/.172/.157 slash line since April 16.
Today though, Galvis came through for his team in a big way. He went 2-2 with a walk, RBI, and run scored. Him getting it going offensively would be a big boost to a Padres lineup that has been struggling as of late.
“Freddy is going to hit.. It’s good to see him square some balls up and get some balls to fall,” Green said.
After losing the first two games of the series, the Padres earned a series split against the Cardinals. They will end their homestand with a two-game set against the Colorado Rockies on Monday and Tuesday.