Weaver helps pitch Cardinals to 6-2 win over Padres
ST. LOUIS — With their pitching staff beat up, banged up and lit up, the St. Louis Cardinals desperately needed a quality start.
Luke Weaver did that and more Wednesday night, snapping an ignominious streak and giving their flagging playoff hopes at least a temporary boost.
Weaver tied a career high with 10 strikeouts in seven shutout innings, lifting St. Louis to a 6-2 decision over the San Diego Padres at Busch Stadium.
In upping his record to 2-1, Weaver allowed three hits and a walk, throwing 69 of his 99 pitches for strikes. He gave the Cardinals (64-62) their third win in nine games and snapped a 12-game streak in which they had allowed at least five runs — one shy of the franchise record.
“I guess it was important,” Weaver said of his outing. “It helps when the command is there. I just told myself to trust my pitch. I got through the first (inning) and slowed things down, pitched with a little grit.”
A fastball clocked at times at 96 mph didn’t hurt, either. Nor did effective secondary pitches that occasionally fetched outs. Weaver retired 10 of the first 11 men he faced.
When San Diego (56-70) pieced together its one real threat against Weaver, loading the bases with two outs in the fourth, he reared and fired a 96 mph heater at Jabari Blash. A late swing meant an inning-ending whiff.
“He had everything,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “He had a good fastball, changeup, breaking ball. He was able to make pitches late in the count. We needed it.”
While Weaver delivered a shutdown outing, second baseman Kolten Wong sparked the offense. Wong, moved up to the leadoff spot with first baseman Matt Carpenter (virus) missing the game, went 3-for-5 with three runs and two steals — making him 11-for-26 in the last six games and improving his average to .314.
“Just understanding what kind of hitter I am,” he said when asked about his performance. “I have to hit it in the gaps and run. That works for me. I’m not trying to do too much.”
Wong led off the game with a double down the right-field line. Tommy Pham doubled to left field two pitches later. Dexter Fowler’s deep fly ball to left with one out scored Pham easily from third for a quick 2-0 lead against Jhoulys Chacin (11-9).
Things got no better for Chacin, who after a clean second inning suddenly lost all of his command. He plunked two batters in the third, leading to Jedd Gyorko’s two-out RBI infield hit.
An inning later, Chacin followed a two-out walk to Pham with a bad pickoff throw that skipped past first base for an error. Greg Garcia trotted home from third for a 4-0 margin.
Chacin hit two batters and walked two others in the fifth, mixing in a wild pitch that plated Fowler. Chacin’s final line was 4 2/3 innings, six hits, five runs, three walks and three strikeouts.
He also hit four batters, tying a modern MLB record last set by the Chicago Cubs’ John Lackey last month. Cardinal batters were plunked a franchise-record five times.
“Just a bad day,” Chacin said. “That was really weird for me. My ball was moving like crazy, especially to the righties. I just (couldn’t get a good) grip on the ball.”
Gyorko’s two-out RBI single in the eighth finished the St. Louis scoring. It plated Wong, who singled and then stole second and third on consecutive pitches.
Manuel Margot tripled home a run in the eighth for the Padres, while Cory Spangenberg tacked on a solo homer in the ninth, his 13th homer of the season.
The Cardinals stayed 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central but moved within 4 1/2 of Arizona and Colorado for the NL wild-card spots after both lost Wednesday.
NOTES: St. Louis RHP Trevor Rosenthal (right elbow) will undergo Tommy John surgery next week. He was transferred to the 60-day disabled list Wednesday. Rosenthal, who suffered the injury Aug. 16 in Boston, went 3-4 with a 3.40 ERA and 11 saves this year. ... LHP MacKenzie Gore, San Diego’s first-round pick in June’s draft, suffered his first pro loss Tuesday night in the Arizona Rookie League. But Gore has allowed only two runs in 20 innings, walking four and fanning 31. ... The Cardinals purchased the contract of LHP Ryan Sherriff from Triple-A Memphis and optioned RHP Josh Lucas to Memphis. Sherriff went 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA in 48 relief appearances for the Redbirds.