Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

MLB News

Asuaje, 'Aguila Negra' come up big for Padres

August 24, 2017

ST. LOUIS -- Taking advantage of an unsettled Cardinals' bullpen, the Padres pounced on three ninth-inning relievers to turn a tie game into a 4-3 victory that sealed San Diego's first series victory at Busch Stadium since 2011.The loss prevented the Cardinals from gaining ground in the National League Central,

ST. LOUIS -- Taking advantage of an unsettled Cardinals' bullpen, the Padres pounced on three ninth-inning relievers to turn a tie game into a 4-3 victory that sealed San Diego's first series victory at Busch Stadium since 2011.
The loss prevented the Cardinals from gaining ground in the National League Central, where they trail the Cubs by 4 1/2 games. St. Louis sits five games back of the Rockies for the NL's second Wild Card spot.
Consecutive singles and aggressive baserunning by pinch-hitter Jabari Blash and outfielder Manuel Margot got the Padres' offense stirring against reliever Sam Tuivailala. Blash ("Big Daddy" for Players Weekend), scored the go-ahead run on Carlos Asuaje's RBI single off Zach Duke. Matt Bowman allowed another insurance run to score on Jose Pirela's ("Aguila Negra") sacrifice fly.
"Our club's remained resilient all year," said Padres manager Andy Green. "That's a good thing to see. Yesterday was a sloppy, ugly game for us. ... It was good for a young group of guys to do what they've done all year, which is flush a bad game and show up to play the next day."
It took four Cardinals relievers to secure the three ninth-inning outs.
National League standings
"We've seen some good things from a number of guys in the 'pen," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We're still trying to put together the pieces of how it's going to look at the end of the game."
Cards trying to solve bullpen conundrum
Randal Grichuk pulled the Cardinals to within one with a home run in the bottom of the frame before Padres closer Brad Hand secured his 12th save of the season.

Padres starter Luis Perdomo impressed in his first start against the Cardinals, the organization that drafted and developed the right-hander before losing him in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft. He surrendered a pair of two-out, RBI hits, but otherwise faced little resistance over his seventh straight start of at least six innings. That's the longest such stretch by a Padres pitcher this season. More >>

Carlos Martinez ("Tsunami") complicated things for himself with a throwing error during the Padres' two-run sixth. But in covering seven innings, he gave the Cardinals consecutive quality starts for the first time since Aug. 7-8.
"I felt really good," Martinez said, speaking through a translator. "I felt my breaking ball was really working for me today, and I was able to pitch myself out of difficult situations today. I'm thankful for that."

Sailing high: Martinez had a chance to help himself out of a sixth-inning bases-loaded mess when he induced a one-out groundball back to the mound. But what should have been an easy throw home to finish a force play -- and perhaps start an inning-ending double play -- sailed over the head of catcher Yadier Molina. Margot scored and the Cardinals did not record an out. Margot's run tied the game, and the Padres went on to take a 2-1 lead in the frame.
"When it came time to throw it, I just lost control," Martinez said. "Unfortunately, those are the errors that cost you a win. That's on me."

Hear me roar: With a 2-2 tie to hold and his scoreless innings streak in jeopardy, Cardinals reliever Tyler Lyons stranded the bases loaded with a strikeout of pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez to end the eighth. Lyons walked two and hit one to fill the bases, though he appeared to be pitching around pinch-hitter William Myers with two on and two out, preferring, instead, to take his chances against Sanchez, a career .455 hitter with the bases loaded. Lyons has now made 16 consecutive scoreless appearances (15 2/3 innings).
"I thought Tyler did a terrific job when he got into a bind," Matheny said. "He knew which guys he needed to expand or even pitch around and then pitched out of it. He did a really nice job."

"He's someone I've known since I signed in 2010 and all the way through the Minors. We have a good relationship, and it was good to go out there and compete against him. It was good to face him and have both of us give it our best." -- Perdomo on Martinez
"It's all command-based. We're going through a little rough patch; the ability is there. We just have to get out there and get it done." -- Duke, on the collective struggles of the bullpen since it lost Trevor Rosenthal to injury
Jedd Gyorko continues to haunt his former team, and, with a fourth-inning RBI double, has now tallied an RBI in nine consecutive games against the Padres. That moved Gyorko into a tie with Jeff Bagwell (1996-97) for the longest RBI streak against the Padres. Since being traded to the Cardinals, Gyorko is 18-for-36 with nine extra-base hits and 16 RBIs against San Diego.

With men on first and second in the eighth, Molina bounced into St. Louis' fourth double-play grounder of the evening. The Padres unsuccessfully challenged the play, contending that William Fowler's slide into second base wasn't a legal one. Had the play been overturned, Paul DeJong would have been forced to return to second base. Padres reliever Kirby Yates rendered the decision moot by striking out Gyorko to end the threat.

The Cardinals utilized their challenge in the ninth inning to request a second look at a whether Margot had, as was ruled on the field, slid in ahead of Molina's tag while trying to score on a sacrifice fly. The call stood after a one-minute, 53-second review, and that run turned out to be the winning one.

Padres:Travis Wood ("Woody"), who came to the Padres from Kansas City before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, responded to two poor outings with his two best starts for San Diego. He takes the ball Friday in Miami with first pitch slated for 4:10 p.m. PT.
Cardinals: The Cardinals will wrap up Interleague Play with a three-game series against the Rays that begins with a 7:15 p.m. CT game on Friday. Michael Wacha ("Wach"), who has received only one run of support in four of his last five starts, will start against Tampa Bay's Jake Odorizzi ("Odo").
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.