SAN DIEGO (AP) — Looking to avoid getting swept for the first time this season one night after getting shut out, Stephen Piscotty and the St. Louis Cardinals struck early and often.
Piscotty homered twice and drove in five runs and Michael Wacha pitched six solid innings to help the Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres 10-3 Sunday.
Jason Heyward had three hits as St. Louis improved its major league-leading record to 78-45 and averted a sweep.
“We all knew today was an important day to bounce back,” Piscotty said. “Every game is important, but everyone had a great game, hit the ball hard, and had a lot of energy. That’s what we’re going to keep going with the momentum.”
Wacha (15-4) picked up his fourth straight win and added to his career-best win total by allowing just one run on four hits. He struck out three and walked two.
“I definitely would say my stuff wasn’t as sharp as it had been,” Wacha said. “Those guys were putting together some good at-bats and I had to work out of some jams and letting the defense play behind me. They were making plays all night.”
The Cardinals scored four in the first against rookie Colin Rea, who was making his third start.
San Diego made two errors in the first inning and the Cardinals capitalized with three hits, including Piscotty’s two-run triple.
“It was a lot of fun out there,” Wacha said. “The offense exploded for a lot of runs, and made my day easy out there. It was a fun day.”
Rea (2-1) struggled early and made a throwing error in the first that contributed to the Cardinals’ rally. The 25-year-old Rea gave up five runs — four earned — over four innings. He struck out four and walked two.
“I think for the most part, I wasn’t very efficient,” Rea said. “I threw a lot of pitches to each hitter. I think that was the biggest thing.”
The Cardinals scored three runs in the seventh against Odrisamer Despaigne. Heyward tripled home a run and Piscotty hit a solo shot to left.
Piscotty, who had been hitless in 10 at-bats coming into the game, hit a two-run shot against Craig Kimbrel in the ninth for Piscotty’s first career multi-homer game.
“(Piscotty) made the most of a few big opportunities and had a nice day,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “He just had a nice overall approach. He needed to kind of right the ship.”
Matt Kemp singled home two runs in the ninth to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.
“This game looks like a blowout, and for all practical purposes it was, but we had some great at-bats,” Padres manager Pat Murphy said. “I think one inning we had four line drives and came up empty.”
Justin Upton had two hits for the Padres, who had won five straight.
Padres: C Derek Norris is day-to-day with a left wrist contusion after X-rays following Saturday night’s game were negative.
Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn (9-8, 2.94) will take the mound in the series opener in Arizona on Monday, looking to reach 10 wins for the fourth straight season. The D-Backs counter with LHP Robbie Ray (2-9, 3.38).
Padres: RHP James Shields (9-5, 3.74) opens the series on Tuesday in Washington going for a second straight win. Shields shut out the Braves over six innings in his last start. Washington will counter with RHP Stephen Strasburg (7-6, 4.22).