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Pham fuels Cards' skid-busting win vs. Padres

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' offense didn't exactly break out on Saturday, but it did enough to snap a season-long four-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the Padres in front of a sellout crowd at Busch Stadium.

Recent Cardinals callup Tommy Pham scored the go-ahead run in the eighth after reaching on an Alexi Amarista error, swiping second -- his first Major League steal -- moving to third on a groundout and sliding safely into home on Jhonny Peralta's sacrifice fly. Padres reliever Brandon Maurer took the loss despite not allowing a hit in his inning of work.

Video: [email protected]: Pham gets first hit, scores game-winning run

"When I hit the ball, I knew something could happen right there," Peralta said. "After four straight losses, it's good to win today. It's a fresh start now."

Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal, pitching for the fifth time in six games, threw a scoreless ninth a day after taking the loss.

Video: [email protected]: Rosenthal retires Kemp to pick up save

For the third straight game between these two clubs, neither starter factored in the decision. Cards starter Carlos Martinez served up a solo homer to Yangervis Solarte but otherwise held the Padres scoreless over 6 2/3 innings. Padres right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne exited in the sixth inning of a 1-1 game and gave up just four hits.

Video: [email protected]: Martinez fans five in 6 2/3 innings


A Pham-tastic first: Pham -- ranked by as the Cardinals' No. 19 prospect -- laced a leadoff double in the sixth for his first Major League hit. Matt Carpenter followed with a nine-pitch at-bat that he capped with an RBI single to tie the game at 1. It was just the second hit in the Cardinals' last 37 chances with a runner in scoring position.

Video: 7/4/15: Pham picks up first career hit with double

"Personally, I didn't want to go up there like, 'Oh, I have to get a hit,'" said Pham, who was hitless in his first seven Major League at-bats. "I just wanted to focus on putting together good at-bats. But when the result was there, it was a big breath of fresh air." More >

Video: [email protected]: Carpenter plates Pham with game-tying single

Extra-base bonanza: When Solarte connected for a home run in the fourth inning off of Martinez, it marked the fifth consecutive game he's had at least one extra-base hit. His triple in the ninth inning Friday set up the game-winning run in a 2-1 Padres victory.

In a pickle: Lefty specialist Randy Choate did his job, retiring the left-handed-hitting Yonder Alonso with runners on the corners and two out in the seventh to close the book on Martinez's day and preserve a tie game. Alonso, who entered the day hitting .372 against lefties this year, went down swinging after being ahead in the count, 2-0.

"That's what Randy does," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "The numbers are pretty lopsided with his splits, but Randy has done a great job for us this season in those situations. And, really, Carlos was at his limit. It was time, and fortunately Randy came in and did a great job."

Video: [email protected]: Choate fans Alonso to escape jam

Rare road success: Despaigne isn't the only Padres pitcher in recent memory with dramatic home-road splits. He entered Saturday's game with a career road ERA of 5.47 -- but he was very good against the Cardinals, retiring 12 of the first 13 batters he faced.

"I was just trying to be aggressive, trying to get ahead of hitters, so that way I can miss with my offspeed pitches," said Despaigne. "Today, everything was working." More >

Video: [email protected]: Despaigne strikes out three over five frames

"I'm going to give it to my mom and my stepdad, let them cherish it. I give them my baseball gifts. I want them to take pride in it." -- Pham, on where the ball from his first Major League hit is headed

Video: [email protected]: Pham on his performance in win over Padres

"He had a great plan. Norris had a great game plan. To me, he was the unsung hero. He called a good game, kept Despi going. Give credit to Despi, I think he's feeding off the way the team is playing." -- Padres interim manager Pat Murphy, on catcher Derek Norris, who was playing with a sprained shoulder

The Cardinals unsuccessfully used their challenge in the third inning after first-base umpire Ron Kulpa ruled that Mark Reynolds' foot came off first base as he caught a throw from second baseman Kolten Wong on a double-play attempt. After a review of three minutes, 22 seconds, the ruling umpire found no clear and convincing evidence to change the call, which stood as a forceout for Melvin Upton Jr.

Video: [email protected]: Safe call on M. Upton stands in 3rd inning

Padres: Ian Kennedy (4-7, 4.86 ERA) will get the start Sunday at 11:15 a.m. PT in the final game of the four-game series against the Cardinals. He hasn't fared well in the past at Busch Stadium, allowing 16 earned runs in 16 innings across three starts.

Cardinals: The Cardinals will wrap up their final homestand of the season's first half Sunday at 1:15 p.m. CT. Lance Lynn (5-4, 2.74 ERA) will be making his fifth career start against the Padres. He is 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA previously.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for and listen to her podcast.
Read More: Alexi Amarista, Odrisamer Despaigne, Carlos Martinez, Yangervis Solarte, Randy Choate, Tommy Pham, Matt Carpenter