The last time the Padres swept the Cardinals was September of 2012. When they started a 3-game series on Friday night at Petco Park, St. Louis had won 15 of their last 20 games while the Padres were missing four starters, their top reserve outfielder, and their best left-handed relief pitcher.
That's not exactly a recipe for a sweep.
The Padres did it anyway.
San Diego won Sunday's game 5-3 to finish an improbable 3-game sweep of the team that started the weekend with the best record in the National League.
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Friars general manager A.J. Preller has been building organizational depth for half a decade now. On Sunday that depth paid off with the Friars using five guys who were in the minor leagues just a week ago to beat the Redbirds.
Rookie lefty Ryan Weathers got the start. He learned very quickly it's not wise to leave pitches out over the plate to Nolan Arenado. In the 1st inning the all-world 3rd baseman launched a 2-run homer down the left field line to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. Those were the only runs Weathers allowed in 4.0 innings of work.
St. Louis starter Kwang Hyun Kim was rolling. He'd only allowed one baserunner through three innings but in the bottom of the 4th everything went wrong. Manny Machado reached on an error by Arenado, who's won eight straight Gold Glove awards.
Kim got Jake Cronenworth to hit into a fielder's choice for the first out. It was the last out he'd get. Kim walked Tommy Pham and gave up a single to Austin Nola to load the bases, then walked Tucupita Marcano to bring in one run and walked Ha-Seong Kim to bring in another and tie it 2-2.
St. Louis skipper pulled his young lefty but the Padres kept scoring. Patrick Kivlehan hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2.
Ivan Castillo pinch-hit for Weathers. Castillo is a 25-year-old who spent eight years in the minors (not including last year when the minor league season was canceled by COVID-19). He made his Major League debut on Friday night and went hitless in his first two at-bats.
The 3rd time's the charm. Castillo singled to right field to score Marcano for his first career hit and RBI, clapping all the way down the 1st base line, giving the Padres a 4-2 lead (interestingly, just one inning before Castillo's knock Weathers also got his first career MLB hit with a single to center).
The next pitcher into the game was Dinelson Lamet, the starter who's been working his way back into throwing shape after an arm injury at the end of 2020. In his first two outings he threw a total of 4.0 innings with fastball that topped out around 94 MPH. A year ago he was averaging around 97 MPH.
The heat was back on his heater against the Cardinals. Lamet threw several fastballs at least 96 MPH. He went 2.0 innings, struck out two and allowed one run on a groundout by Yadier Molina that made it 4-3. The Padres got that run right back in the bottom half on a Trent Grisham RBI double.
The Padres, now winners of six of their last seven games, have pulled within a half game of the Giants for first place in the National League West and open a 3-game series against the Rockies on Monday night at Petco Park.
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