Padres' Wells gets the better of Cards

Thursday, September 9, 2004

SAN DIEGO -- This was vintage Boomer.

Stoked to be pitching against baseball's best team, David Wells threw seven innings and even drove in two runs to lead the San Diego Padres to a 10-5 win against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.

"To go out there against this ballclub and pitch like I did was great because I've been waiting for them," said the 41-year-old lefty, who labored through the first inning in his hometown's heat but finished strong.

Wells (10-7) was backed by home runs by Phil Nevin and Ryan Klesko off Matt Morris, who was knocked out before he could get an out in the third inning.

"Boomer came through big-time," manager Bruce Bochy said. "And we caught Morris on an off day."

This was the kind of game the Padres envisioned Wells thriving in when they signed him away from the Yankees on Dec. 31.

Wells' turn in the rotation didn't come up in last week's series in St. Louis, when the Cardinals embarrassed the Padres in a three-game sweep, outscoring them 20-7 and hitting 10 homers to San Diego's one.

When Wells got his chance, he held the Cardinals to two runs on three hits and striking out six while walking none.

"I was fired up," Wells said. "I was ready for this ballclub. They're so powerful and explosive, and that's the team that I want to face. I want to be the guy on the mound and see what they've got."

After giving up So Taguchi's two-run homer with one out in the third, Wells allowed only one other baserunner.

Morris (15-9) was coming off a career-best two-hit shutout against NL West-leading Los Angeles, but he was lifted after allowing Klesko's two-run shot to right that gave the Padres a 7-2 lead in the third.

"It was not my day," Morris said. "It's just one of those things. I was leaving too many balls out over the plate and you just can't do that."

Morris allowed seven runs and five hits, walked three and had no strikeouts. It was just the fourth time in 29 starts he failed to pitch at least six innings.

"He was out of whack," manager Tony La Russa said. "He just had a tough day."

Nevin finished with three hits and three RBIs. He homered into the left-field seats leading off the second, his 23rd, to start a three-run inning. Miguel Ojeda also had three hits.

"We match up better with this team in this ballpark," Nevin said. "You take away some of the power stuff that's on their end, it helps us out a lot. We did our job today offensively and obviously Boomer did his."

Wells had two RBIs with his bases-loaded fielder's choice with one out in the second. Ojeda was intentionally walked to load the bases and bring up Wells. The lefty hit a grounder to second baseman Hector Luna. Instead of being a routine out, Wells was safe after Albert Pujols' foot came off first base just before the throw got there.

That brought in Klesko, and Khalil Greene came around from second to score while Ojeda was caught in a rundown.

"Two unexpected RBIs," Wells said. "I'll take it. Hopefully you get that one run across, but he left early and two runs scored."

San Diego added three runs in the seventh off left-hander Carmen Cali, who was making his big league debut. Ojeda and Ramon Vazquez had RBI singles, and Greene a sacrifice fly.

St. Louis' Marlon Anderson hit a pinch homer off Ricky Stone in the eighth to highlight the three-run inning.

Andy Ashby threw a perfect ninth in his season debut for the Padres. The Padres purchased his minor league contract on Sunday after he successfully rehabbed his surgically repaired right elbow.

Ashby, one of two players left from the '98 Series team, received a standing ovation from the crowd of 34,277. He said he was so nervous he wasn't sure where his first pitch would end up.

"The fan reaction was incredible," Ashby said. "It was neat."

Notes: The Cardinals have lost just two of their last 13 series. ... The Padres play their final 23 games against NL West clubs, starting Thursday at Colorado. Chasing both Los Angeles and San Francisco, they have seven games left against the Dodgers and six against the Giants.

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