Padres manager Andy Green has talked a lot since Spring Training about his lineup having length to it. For the first time since becoming the skipper in 2016 he has guys in pretty much every spot who can hurt you and even a few off the bench that opposing pitchers have to respect.
That was on display again in Saturday's 6-4 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis when the Friars got a pair of 2-run homers in the 8th inning, one from the 8th guy in the order and one from the #3 hitter.
San Diego drew 10 walks in the game but were having all kinds of trouble hitting with runners in scoring position. Their first run came in the 1st inning when Eric Hosmer worked a walk and Hunter Renfroe, who earned a start with his hot bat and went 2-3 with two walks on Saturday, brought him home with an RBI double.
The bad news is the Padres didn't score again until the 7th inning because they couldn't get the timely knock they needed. In the interim the Friars had to go through a few more pitchers than they were planning on.
Rookie Chris Paddack made his 2nd career start and, although he wasn't too bad, was not as sharp as he's used to being. The 23-year-old who only walked eight hitters in 90.0 innings last year walked four Cardinals in 3.2 innings. He also struck out four and only allowed one hit with one unearned run but the deep counts put him at 89 pitches so Green pulled him in favor of Robert Stock.
He finished the 4th inning but had trouble in the 5th when he coughed up a 2-run homer to Marcell Ozuna that put the Cardinals up 3-1.
The Padres cut the lead to one in the 7th inning when Hosmer hit his first home run of the year, a solo shot that made it a 3-2 game. In the 8th inning the Cardinals went to All-Star reliever Andrew Miller. He did not pitch like an All-Star.
Rookie shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. led off with a walk and then Austin Hedges smacked his first homer of the season to left to put San Diego on top 4-3. Ian Kinsler worked another walk and with two outs Manny Machado reached down and out of the strike zone but still had enough power to hit a line drive just over the left field wall for what turned out to be the game-winning home run.
Craig Stammen gave up a run on a Tyler O'Neill RBI single in the 8th but the 9th once again belonged to Kirby Yates. The closer got Dexter Fowler to strike out swinging to end it for his National League-leading 5th save.
San Diego runs its record to 6-3, its best start to a season since also going 6-3 in 2009, and can sweep its first road series of the year on Sunday when Matt Strahm gets the start against Adam Wainwright.