An Adam Wainwright loss began the St. Louis Cardinals' current slump, though that's yet to cost them their lead in the race for the NL's second wild-card spot.
His dominance of the San Diego Padres could go a long way in helping St. Louis end its funk Tuesday night.
The Cardinals fell 11-3 to the Padres in the series opener Monday and had their lead for that second wild-card spot cut to one game over the idle Los Angeles Dodgers , whom they'll face in a crucial four-game set beginning Thursday.
Pete Kozma went 3 for 4 with two RBIs for St. Louis (75-66), which has dropped six of its last seven on the road and four of five overall."Ugly," manager Mike Matheny said. "We got a lead, quickly lost it, then couldn't get it stopped. We just had a rough time getting people out."
Wainwright (13-12, 4.04 ERA) allowed five runs in five innings of a 6-2 loss to the New York Mets on Wednesday, which was the start of the Cardinals' current funk.
The right-hander won each of his five starts with a 1.47 ERA from Aug. 4-26, but he gave up six runs in 2 2-3 innings - tying the shortest start of his career - of a 10-0 loss at Washington on Aug. 31 before his most recent defeat."Not good," Wainwright said. "I wasn't sharp by any means."
Wainwright, though, has been stellar against the Padres, going 3-1 with a 0.58 ERA in four career starts. He pitched a four-hitter and struck out nine in a 4-0 home victory May 22.
His only defeat came at San Diego on May 25, 2010, when he struck out a career high-tying 12 in seven innings of a 1-0 loss.
Wainwright will again look to shut down the Padres' lineup, which tied its season high for runs scored and pounded out 17 hits in Monday's victory.
San Diego (67-75) has won nine of its last 11 at home and five of six overall."We kept putting the pressure on (Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia ) and we had a lot of big, two-out hits," manager Bud Black said.
The Padres will look to keep rolling with help from Edinson Volquez , who is back in the rotation after missing his last start.
Volquez (9-10, 4.27) last pitched Sept. 1, when he gave up five runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 9-1 loss at Colorado. He skipped Saturday's start due to a blister on his right thumb.
"It's been troubling him over his last few starts, so we felt it was time to let it heal," Black told the team's official website.
The right-hander gave up three runs in six innings while losing to Wainwright in May, dropping to 0-4 with a 6.82 ERA over his last six starts versus the Cardinals.
The Padres may be without Carlos Quentin for this matchup after the left fielder exited Monday's game in the fourth inning with a sore right knee. He was starting his second straight game after missing the previous five with the same injury.
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|September 09, 2012||David Freese||Day-to-Day||Swollen left ankle|
|September 09, 2012||Matt Carpenter||Day-to-Day||Cut hand|
|September 09, 2012||Jake Westbrook||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|August 31, 2012||Rafael Furcal||15-Day DL||Torn UCL, right elbow - out for season|
|August 30, 2012||Rafael Furcal||Day-to-Day||Left game - right elbow strain|
|August 28, 2012||Yadier Molina||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained upper back|
|San Diego Padres|
|August 23, 2012||Jason Marquis||15-Day DL||Fractured left wrist|
|August 17, 2012||Nick Hundley||Day-to-Day||Bruised right knee|
|August 16, 2012||Nick Hundley||60-Day DL||Bruised right knee|
|August 11, 2012||Huston Street||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|July 31, 2012||Yasmani Grandal||15-Day DL||Strained oblique|
|July 31, 2012||Yasmani Grandal||15-Day DL||Strained oblique|
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals still can't find all the answers as they try to add to their lead in the postseason race.
Logan Forsythe and Alexi Amarista had key hits in a five-run fourth inning, and the San Diego Padres beat the Cardinals 6-4 Tuesday night to send the slumping World Series champions to their 10th loss in 14 games.
St. Louis maintained a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL's second wild-card berth but dropped 10 1/2 games behind Cincinnati in the NL Central.
The only saving grace for the Cardinals is that the teams directly behind them have played as bad or worse then them.
"The bottom line is we have to win, regardless of if the other teams in contention are losing or not," third baseman David Freese said.
"This is a good opportunity to lengthen our lead in the standings and we are not doing it. It's putting more pressure on this team and allowing other teams to stick around," he said.
While the Dodgers and Pittsburgh both lost, Milwaukee and Philadelphia have both crept to within four games of the Cardinals.
"It doesn't seem like there are any breaks when things are going bad," St. Louis second baseman Skip Schumaker said. "It's where we are at right now, and it's tough. We are letting other teams in and it's going to make these next couple of weeks interesting."
Freese provided one of the few spots for the Cardinals with a solo homer in the seventh that cut San Diego's lead to 5-4. But St. Louis was just 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 runners. The Cardinals have lost seven of their last eight road games.
"We had a lot of chances in the middle of the order, where we want it to be," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "We just didn't get it done."
Since Aug. 22, the Cardinals have held onto the last NL wild-card spot despite an 8-11 record. But the Dodgers are 7-10 and the Pirates have gone 5-12.
Forsythe, a homer shy of the cycle in Monday night's 11-3 win over St. Louis, doubled in two runs and Amarista added a two-run triple as San Diego erased a 2-0 deficit in the fourth.
Edinson Volquez (10-10) allowed three runs - two earned - and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, striking out six and walking six. He has a career-high 100 walks, the most in the majors this season.
Luke Gregerson pitched 1 2-3 innings for his sixth save in 10 chances, finishing San Diego's 16th win in 21 games.
"We're playing good ball right now," Forsythe said. "Big hits in big situations. We're having fun."
Since Aug. 14, the Padres have a 10-4 record against teams with winning records.
Adam Wainwright (13-13), hurt by rookie shortstop Pete Kozma 's error in the fourth, gave up five runs - two earned - five hits and four walks in six innings. He had been 3-1 with a 1.07 ERA in seven career appearances against San Diego.
"He looked better," Matheny said. "He was spotting his fastball a little better and his curveball was pretty sharp. He used it a lot and they weren't on it until the fourth."
With St. Louis ahead 2-0 in the fourth, San Diego loaded the bases with one out when Kozma threw wildly on Will Venable 's grounder, and Chase Headley and Yasmani Grandal reached on infield singles. Yonder Alonso walked on a full-count pitch, forcing in a run, and Forsythe hit a two-run double to right-center for a 3-2 lead.
After Alonso got thrown out at home trying to score on Cameron Maybin 's grounder to Schumaker, Amarista hit a two-run triple into the right-field corner.
Jon Jay 's RBI single in the sixth off Joe Thatcher and Freese's homer against Brad Brach pulled the Cardinals to 5-4. Cameron Maybin had an RBI single off Edward Mujica in the eighth.
St. Louis loaded the bases with no outs in the second but scored only one run, on Schumaker's groundout. Volquez got out the jam by getting Kozma to ground into a double play. Shortstop Everth Cabrera 's error on Yadier Molina 's grounder allowed Jay to score in the third.
Alonso, who walked three times, hit his 34th double of the season in the eighth, breaking the San Diego rookie record set by Benito Santiago in 1987.
NOTES: Wainwright's only other loss to the Padres came at San Diego on May 25, 2010, when he tied a career high with 12 strikeouts over seven innings in a 1-0 loss. ... Wainwright had walked just 43 batters in his previous 28 starts over 173 2-3 innings. ... Padres LF Carlos Quentin , who was removed from Monday night's game, was out of the starting lineup Tuesday with a sore right knee. ... Cardinals RHP Kyle Lohse (14-2, 2.81 ERA) opposes Padres LHP Clayton Richard (12-12, 3.78) in the series finale Wednesday.