Padres trip Cards 3-1

Thursday, May 26, 2011
Cardinals third baseman Daniel Descalso comes up short while trying for a diving stop on a triple by Padres shortstop Jason Bartlett during the sixth inning Wednesday in San Diego. (LENNY IGNELZI ~ Associated Press)

SAN DIEGO -- Chris Carpenter thinks he's getting closer even though he wound up on the wrong side of the decision.

Chase Headley doubled home the go-ahead run in a two-run eighth inning, and San Diego handed Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals a 3-1 loss Wednesday, ending the Padres' season-worst five-game losing streak.

Carpenter (1-5), the 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner, has struggled to regain the form that's helped him lead all major league starters in winning percentage over the past seven seasons.

"It's been weird because I feel like I've been throwing the ball pretty well," he said. "There's been a few starts that haven't been very good. Besides that, I've felt that I've thrown the ball OK."

Carpenter matched Mat Latos (2-6) into the eighth inning when the Padres broke through.

Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter stands on the mound as Padres outfielder Brad Hawpe rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the second inning Wednesday.

It was 1-1 when Jason Bartlett reached on a two-out infield single, his third hit of the game. Headley followed with his tiebreaking double, continued to third on shortstop Tyler Greene's error and scored on an infield single by Ryan Ludwick off Carpenter.

"Headley put a good at-bat on me," Carpenter said. "I made a good pitch that wasn't even on the plate and he [hits] it just out of the reach of [third baseman Daniel] Descalso."

Headley said: "He made some good pitches up to that point. I was just kind of fighting him off at that point. Then he tried to throw a sinker away, but I was able to reach out there and fight it off. I got enough of the barrel on the ball to get it inside the line."

The Cardinals had their four-game winning streak stopped. San Diego, which has the NL's worst home record at 9-20, scored more than two runs for the first time in nine games.

"It's been several times and it's been the same scenario," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "We just can't push enough offense to give him a chance to win."

Carpenter gave up eight hits in a complete game, the 30th of his career. He struck out six and did not walk a batter -- there were no walks in the game. Carpenter worked six innings or more for the eighth straight start and the 10th time in 11 starts this season.

Latos pitched eight strong innings, allowing one run and six hits while striking out seven. Heath Bell pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th save in 11 chances.

Latos pitched his best game in a troubled season. The young right-hander did not walk anyone in winning for the first time in seven decisions at home, dating to last season. He had lost 11 of his last 12 overall.

"That's how I visualize him throwing the ball from the first pitch of the game until the last," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "He threw more four-seam fastballs. He turned the ball loose with conviction. I think it makes all his pitches better when he pitches with the mindset that he's a fastball pitcher."

San Diego's Brad Hawpe homered for the second straight game, a leadoff shot in the second that made it 1-1.

"It's big for us because of the way we won," Bell said. "It's a big momentum changer for us. I think it gives us a lot of confidence and gets a lot of frustration off our shoulders.

St. Louis scored in the first on Jon Jay's leadoff double and a single by Lance Berkman.

Noteworthy

* Cardinals LF Matt Holliday (strained left quadriceps), the NL's leading hitter at .349, did not start for the third straight game.

* Latos had allowed 15 runs over 5 1/3 innings in two career starts against St. Louis.

* The Cardinals are 2-9 in Carpenter's starts.

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