Piscotty’s blast lifts Cardinals past Padres
SAN DIEGO — One swing by Stephen Piscotty ruined the San Diego Padres’ night.
The St. Louis right fielder ended a shutout bid by San Diego rookie Dinelson Lamet with a two-run homer in the seventh inning Wednesday night, leading the Cardinals to a 3-1 victory over the Padres at Petco Park.
With a third consecutive win against San Diego, St. Louis (72-67) moved within two games of the Colorado Rockies for the National League’s second wild card.
Lamet (7-7) had shut out the Cardinals on a hit and three walks, striking out eight, through six innings before giving up a single to center by Jose Martinez opening the seventh.
Piscotty then drove the first pitch from Lamet into the left field stands to erase a 1-0 deficit, which had come on a solo homer by Yangervis Solarte off Cardinals rookie Jack Flaherty in the fourth.
The Cardinals added an unearned run in the eighth off Padres reliever Kirby Yates.
Pinch hitter Breyvic Valera drew a walk to open the inning and stole second. Dexter Fowler then hit a soft line drive to Wil Myers that ricocheted off the first baseman’s glove for an error that allowed Valera to take third. Valera scored on Harrison Bader’s sacrifice fly to right.
The Padres (62-78) opened the ninth with back-to-back singles by Hector Sanchez and Jabari Blash off Tyler Lyons, who then struck out Erick Aybar and Matt Szczur before retiring Cory Spangenberg on a fly to center to record his second save.
Reliever Ryan Sherriff (1-1) got credit for the win after throwing two scoreless innings.
Through six innings, the only hit allowed by Lamet was a one-out, first-inning single by Bader that just cleared the leap of second baseman Carlos Asuaje. After Bader’s single, Lamet retired seven straight hitters before Fowler drew a two-out walk in the third.
Through the first six innings, Lamet never allowed more than one Cardinal to reach base in an inning, with no runner reaching second. One of the three walks he issued was erased in a double play.
Flaherty held his own with Lamet in his second career start. When he departed after five innings, his only blemish was Solarte’s homer leading off the fourth.
After throwing a strike to get ahead of Solarte, Flaherty threw an 88 mph changeup that the Padres’ third baseman drove into the right-field stands. It was the career-high 16th homer of the season for Solarte.
Flaherty allowed three hits and four walks with four strikeouts. He threw 86 pitches, 52 for strikes.
Flaherty worked his way out of a jam in the second with the help of some cautious base-running by Lamet.
The Padres pitcher lopped a short fly to right with one out that landed in front of Piscotty, then bounced past the Cardinal, but Lamet stopped at first. Asuaje followed with a hit to the gap in left-center, but Lamet stopped at second.
After Myers walked to load the bases, Jose Pirela hit a one-hopper to Alex Mejia that the Cardinals third baseman converted into an inning-ending double play.
Lamet wound up permitting two runs on three hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in six-plus innings.
NOTES: The Cardinals acquired RHP Juan Nicasio, 31, from the Phillies in exchange for minor league INF Eliezer Alvarez. ... Cardinals INF Matt Carpenter had an injection in his right shoulder and will miss several more games. ... CF Dexter Fowler returned to the Cardinals’ starting lineup after missing three games with a sore hip. He went 0-for-3 with a walk. ... INF Jedd Gyorko, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 27 with a right hamstring strain, is running, and St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said he is close to returning. ... Padres LHP Robbie Erlin, who has missed the entire season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, pitched a simulated game at Petco Park on Wednesday. He will continue throwing in the Arizona Instructional League and possibly winter ball.