Albert Pujols hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning and the St. Louis Cardinals, boosted by a strong start from Adam Wainwright, beat the San Diego Padres 3-2 Tuesday night.
“I was just looking for a good ball to hit,” Pujols said. “I didn't try to do too much. Just get something up. I just tried to come through. Most of the time you're going to make outs and other times you'll have nights like this where you come through.”
It was his 15th overall walk-off with St. Louis but his first since rejoining the Cardinals this season.
“I just put it up in the air,” Pujols said. “I think it brings great memories from the past but at the end of day, I just want to try and help this ballclub to win. I'm excited I came through tonight.”
Tommy Edman began the 10th as the Cardinals' automatic runner at second. After Paul Goldschmidt was intentionally walked by Taylor Rogers (0-2) and Nolan Arenado fouled out, Edman stole third.
“We had to get a good jump there and I trust (Edman) there for sure,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said.
Pujols followed with his second sacrifice fly of the game, lifting a ball to left that easily scored Edman.
Pujols has 119 sacrifice flies in his career. Eddie Murray holds the major league record with 128.
“That was such a huge play there, Tommy stealing third and Albert coming up," Wainwright said. “I think we all wanted to see Albert walk that one off.”
Drew VerHagen (3-0), the fourth St. Louis pitcher, started the 10th and benefitted from a perfect throw from left fielder Lars Nootbaar, who had entered the game in the seventh.
Jurickson Profar singled to left with two outs and Nootbaar cut down pinch-runner Jose Azocar at home plate to end the inning.
“That one there took me to my left a little but I came up throwing,” Nootbaar said. “I was able to throw a strike there and get us out of the inning. The tip of the iceberg is Albert finishing it up. It was pretty cool to be a part of that one.”
San Diego dropped to 5-3 in extra innings this season. St. Louis improved to 2-1.
San Diego manager Bob Melvin and Manny Machado were ejected by home plate umpire Chris Segal in the sixth for arguing balls and strikes.
“It gets a little emotional out there,” Melvin said. “To come back and it's a 2-2 game and those are games we feel like we can win. Unfortunately, we get thrown out at the plate and they score in the bottom half. It's just disappointing to lose.”
Wainwright struck out 10 with one walk in throwing 115 pitches over seven shutout innings.
“I had very good command tonight,” Wainwright said. “It's about time. What took me so long?”
He allowed just two hits, both singles to St. Louis native Luke Voit.
“That was an absolute tutorial,” Marmol said. “What he did was unbelievable. That was fun to watch tonight.”
Former Cy Young winner Blake Snell made his third start of the season for the Padres. He gave up two runs on two hits in six innings with three walks a wild pitch.
“The three walks, I've got to clean that up," Snell said. “Overall, I'm happy with how I battled but unhappy that we lost. We just came up short.”
Trent Grisham hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Cardinals reliever Giovanny Gallegos to make it 2-all.
St. Louis took a 2-0 lead in the third.
Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 22 games with an RBI double. He later took third on a wild pitch before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Pujols.
Of Goldschmidt’s last 30 hits, 18 have been for extra bases (nine home runs and nine doubles). He has reached base safely in a career-high 36 consecutive games, the longest streak in the major leagues this season.
Goldschmidt’s 23 extra-base hits this month are the most in any May in franchise history. He broke a tie with Stan Musial (1954) and Pujols (2009).
Wainwright and Yadier Molina made their 314th career start as batterymates. They rank third all-time in MLB history since 1901, and two shy from tying the Boston/Milwaukee Braves duo of Warren Spahn and Del Crandall (316) for second place. Detroit's Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan hold the record with 324.
HOT ROOKIE SITS
Rookie 2B Nolan Gorman, 22, is a left-handed hitter and he was not in the starting lineup . Marmol said after the game Gorman was “not available.” He has some “lower back stiffness” and he was held out. “Hopefully, he'll be feeling better tomorrow.” In 10 games so far he was promoted May 20, Gorman is hitting .387. He has three games of at least three hits in his short time in the majors.
Arenado’s single to right in the first inning snapped an 0-for-17 slump.
Pujols played in the 2,998th game of his career Tuesday. He is three games away from tying Cal Ripken Jr. (3,001) for eighth all-time in MLB history. After singling in the eighth, Pujols is one hit shy of Paul Molitor (3,319) for ninth all-time in MLB history.
ROAD SERIES LOSS
San Diego lost just its second road series out of eight this season. Despite back-to-back losses to the Cardinals, the Padres are 17-9 on the road.
Padres: SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (wrist) is with the team on its road and is participating in fielding and conditioning work, but still isn’t cleared for hitting activities. ... LHP Drew Pomeranz (flexor tendon surgery) is now throwing bullpens at 75-80%, but there is no timetable for a return.
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (right shoulder inflammation) threw 40 pitches over two simulated innings to C Andrew Knizner and Nootbaar. The opening day starter in 2020 and 2021 said he “felt good, felt healthy. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to throw to guys who aren’t our guys.” ... LF Tyler O’Neill (right shoulder impingement) will not be ready for a rehab assignment until at least Friday or Saturday.
Padres: RHP Yu Darvish (4-2, 3.76) held Milwaukee to one hit through six innings in his last start but the Brewers broke through in the seventh with two hits, a walk and the sacrifice fly to take a 2-1 victory.
Cardinals: RHP Dakota Hudson (3-2, 3.22) will be making just his second career start and appearance against the Padres and his first since his rookie season in 2019 when he dropped a 12-1 decision to the Padres. Hudson stretched his scoreless streak to 17 2/3 innings at Busch Stadium last Friday but he didn’t get through the fifth inning for the third time in his last four starts.
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