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ICYMI: Unearned run proves difference in Padres' loss

The Padres and Cardinals played a tight game on Friday evening, dominated by strong pitching, that ended in a 2-1 victory going to the visitors from San Diego. The very next day, on Saturday afternoon, the Padres and Cards once again played a tight game dominated by strong pitching that ended in a 2-1 victory -- this time going to the hometown Cardinals.

The difference-maker on Saturday turned out to be a late unearned run charged to reliever Brandon Maurer, who came in to try to preserve a 1-1 tie in the eighth inning. Maurer's strong efforts were spoiled, however, after infielder Alexi Amarista made a fielding error on a ground ball that simply kicked off of his glove and allowed the eventual go-ahead run to reach base. Amarista, who has been solid defensively for the most part prior to Saturday's crucial error, made only his ninth error of the season to allow Tommy Pham to reach base and come around to score in the home half of the eighth.

Despite the late miscue by Amarista and the ultimate unfavorable result for the Friars, Saturday's game was a well-played affair that included a lot of offensive chances and a brilliant pitching performance by starter Odrisamer Despaigne. Despaigne threw five innings of one-run baseball, allowing only one earned run on four hits with three strikeouts. It proved to be enough to give Despaigne a no-decision, as the game was turned over to the Padres' bullpen. The bullpen did an excellent job on Saturday, as well, as three Padres relievers combined for four strikeouts and no earned runs over three innings of work.

The offense had plenty of opportunities on Saturday, as well, as the Friars amassed nine hits against the Cardinals' pitching staff -- despite scoring only one run. The lone Padres run actually came courtesy of a Yangervis Solarte solo homer in the fourth inning, which marked Solarte's fifth straight game with an extra-base hit. Catcher Derek Norris and infielder Jedd Gyorko each enjoyed multi-hit games, as well, as they went 2-for-4 and 3-for-4, respectively.

Despite Saturday's loss, the Padres will have another chance on Sunday to go for the series win behind Ian Kennedy at 11:15 a.m. PST. In case you missed it, here are some highlights and stories you may not have seen from Saturday:

Padres post-game recap: Late miscue opens door for loss to Cardinals

Despaigne delivers a brilliant bounce-back start over five innings in St. Louis:

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

Solarte's solo shot puts the Padres up, 1-0, in the fourth inning:

Video: [email protected]: Solarte's solo shot snaps scoreless tie

Upton stretches to make a fantastic running grab in the fifth inning:

Video: [email protected]: J. Upton stretches to make the catch

Although he's visiting, Despaigne needs no welcome mat: Despaigne makes himself at home in St. Louis

Strong-bodied, tough-willed catcher takes no breaks: Norris playing with shoulder sprain after collision

Patriotic uniforms more than just for show: Friars to Wear Stars and Stripes on Independence Day

Down on the Farm: Rea struggles in his Triple-A debut

Murph's Musings: Murphy talks about Middlebrooks, Thayer, the first homer by Tyson Ross

Notable Notes: Game Notes @ STL (07.04) Despaigne Called upon for Independence Day Matchup

Looking forward:

Friar Forecast: Padres go for series win in St. Louis behind Kennedy

Sunday's probable pitchers: Ian Kennedy (4-7, 4.86 ERA) vs. Lance Lynn (5-4, 2.74 ERA)

Read More: San Diego Padres