Solarte drives in six as Padres pound Cardinals
ST. LOUIS - Tony Gwynn never did it. Nor did Dave Winfield, or Nate Colbert. Not even Enzo Hernandez accomplished it.
And what exactly was it that Yangervis Solarte pulled off Tuesday night in Busch Stadium?
Try the first six-RBI game by a San Diego Padres player in St. Louis, enabling them to become the latest team to plunder the Cardinals’ suddenly-shaky pitching in a 12-4 rout.
Solarte drilled a three-run double off Lance Lynn in the third inning, added a carbon-copy double to the gap in right center two innings later that snapped a 3-3 tie and capped his career-best game with a two-run homer in the eighth.
Solarte’s 14th homer traveled an estimated 455 feet, soaring over the St. Louis bullpen in right center and allowing San Diego (56-69) to tie its season high for runs.
“I‘m just going up there, trying to bring guys home,” Solarte said through an interpreter when asked about his approach with men on base. “I‘m thinking the middle of the field. If I‘m trying to hit a home run, I won’t hit one.”
The Padres entered the game having scored just six runs in losing three of four games against the Washington Nationals. That included just one run in each of the series’ first two games while facing the likes of Edwin Jackson and Matt Grace.
But like most opponents of late, San Diego’s bats perked up when presented with Cardinals pitching. For the 12th consecutive game, St. Louis allowed at least five runs. It has given up at least six runs in five straight games.
That helps explain why the Cardinals (63-62), who woke up on Aug. 13 in a virtual tie for first place in the National League Central with the Chicago Cubs, now trail Chicago by 4 1/2 games. They have lost six of their last eight games after peeling off a season-high eight-game winning streak.
Not even the presence of Lance Lynn, St. Louis’ most reliable starter this year, could prevent another long night. Lynn gave up six hits and four runs in six innings, walking one and fanning four in a no-decision.
The third inning got away from Lynn because three pitches got away from him. He sandwiched Manuel Margot’s single by plunking .111-hitting pitcher Clayton Richard and Jose Pirela.
Solarte, 1-for-9 in his career against Lynn, burned him with a bases-clearing double.
“When you hit two guys, you’re bound to give up some runs,” Lynn said. “I need to be better than that. I had better stuff than the line showed.”
Lynn might not have pitched up to his recent standard, in which he has not lost in eight starts, but he was still far better than his mates in the bullpen. Matt Bowman (3-5) and Zach Duke were torched in a six-run seventh that snapped a 4-4 tie.
Pirela’s single scored Margot for a 5-4 edge and chased Bowman. Duke permitted Matt Szczur’s two-run pinch-single up the middle and then allowed a three-run homer to Austin Hedges, his 16th home run of the year.
“It was a resilient win,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “We kept scoring. We had big hit after big hit. We gave ourselves opportunities to plate a lot of runs.”
The Cardinals wiped out a 3-0 deficit in the bottom of the fourth with a sudden two-out explosion. After Yadier Molina doubled, Jedd Gyorko whacked a two-run homer to left, his seventh blast in eight games against the team which traded him after the 2015 season. Stephen Piscotty followed three pitches later with a solo shot.
Molina cracked a two-out solo shot to left center in the sixth to even the score and drive Clayton Richard off the mound. Richard lasted 5 2/3 innings, yielding six hits and four runs with a walk and six strikeouts.
Craig Stammen (1-2) threw two pitches to retire the last hitter of the sixth and picked up the win, thanks to San Diego’s seventh-inning outburst.
“Everyone was playing with energy,” Solarte said. “It’s not so much about homers and RBI, it was everyone wanting to win. I want us to finish strong.”
NOTES: St. Louis RF Stephen Piscotty was added to the 25-man roster, with 1B Luke Voit being optioned to Triple-A Memphis. Piscotty was the 26th man for Sunday night’s Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa., going 2-for-4 with a walk. ... San Diego activated OF Matt Szczur from the family leave list and optioned LHP Kyle McGrath to Triple-A El Paso. McGrath appeared in five games, going 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA. ... Cardinals C Yadier Molina’s fourth-inning hit was the 1,705th of his career, allowing him to pass Ted Simmons for 11th place on the franchise list.