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Perdomo shows growth against former club

MLB.com @AJCassavell

ST. LOUIS -- The last time Luis Perdomo faced the Cardinals, there were no guarantees he'd be a Padre for long. A Rule 5 Draft pick in 2015, Perdomo struggled in his first two months the following year in the big leagues. When he allowed three runs to the Cardinals on April 23, his ERA skyrocketed to 12.86, and there were questions as to whether he'd remain in San Diego.

Those questions are long gone. Perdomo pitched six innings of two-run ball Thursday night in St. Louis, showing his former organization precisely what it's missing. He used his typical ground-ball savvy to spark a 4-3 victory as the Padres picked up their first series win at Busch Stadium since 2011.

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ST. LOUIS -- The last time Luis Perdomo faced the Cardinals, there were no guarantees he'd be a Padre for long. A Rule 5 Draft pick in 2015, Perdomo struggled in his first two months the following year in the big leagues. When he allowed three runs to the Cardinals on April 23, his ERA skyrocketed to 12.86, and there were questions as to whether he'd remain in San Diego.

Those questions are long gone. Perdomo pitched six innings of two-run ball Thursday night in St. Louis, showing his former organization precisely what it's missing. He used his typical ground-ball savvy to spark a 4-3 victory as the Padres picked up their first series win at Busch Stadium since 2011.

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In December 2015, St. Louis left Perdomo unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft. He was selected by the Rockies with the fourth-overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft, then dealt to San Diego. Per Rule 5 stipulations, Perdomo had to remain on the big league roster for the entire season or be offered back to the Cardinals.

Twenty months later, he's still a Padre.

"Since I've gotten here, it's been great for me," Perdomo said. "I think it's been a really good path. And from that moment, when it happened, it was something that made an impression on me. It kind of caught me off-guard. But it was something that was really good for my career."

No kidding. First and foremost, Perdomo is approaching two years of big league experience. His ERA sits at 4.91 this year. But he's made significant strides in his first two seasons.

Those strides were much more noticeable in 2016, when Perdomo developed a sinker out of nowhere and turned into one of the Majors' most effective ground-ball pitchers. This season, it's been more about game management. In that regard, he's especially proud of his streak of seven straight starts with at least six innings.

"For me, the consistency's a big deal," Perdomo said. "Every time I'm going out there, I'm trying to go more than five innings."

Perdomo insisted that facing the Cardinals didn't take on any added significance in his mind.

With six innings Wednesday, Perdomo now qualifies for any league leaderboards. And his 63 percent ground-ball rate is officially the best in the Majors. He recored 12 outs on the ground Wednesday, to four in the air.

"He has a live arm," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "... He trusted his velocity and movement, and guys were rolling out plays behind him. That made it tough on us."

Matheny could've just as easily been saying that about Perdomo as his own pitcher, had things gone a bit differently. But two Decembers ago, the Padres took a chance.

"He was an excellent find by our scouts, a guy out of A-ball who took some lumps when he showed up to the big leagues, and rightfully so with where he had pitched before," Padres manager Andy Green said. "But every person watching the game can see he's a legit Major League starter. He's getting better and better."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Luis Perdomo