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Lyons leads Cardinals past Padres

Thursday, May 23, 2013 | 1:31 a.m. CDT; updated 2:02 a.m. CDT, Thursday, May 23, 2013
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Tyler Lyons throws against the San Diego Padres in his Major League debut Wednesday in San Diego.

SAN DIEGO — Tyler Lyons scrolled through his phone, scanning all the text messages congratulating the left-hander on his winning major league debut. His teammates were quite appreciative, too.

Lyons pitched seven solid innings on the same day St. Louis lost Jaime Garcia for the season, and the Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 on Wednesday night.

"It was everything I could ask for," said Lyons, who also got his first major league hit on a single in the sixth. "I pitched well, I got a hit and we won the ballgame. It doesn't get much better than that."

Lyons, who was promoted from Triple-A Memphis after Garcia went on the disabled list, used an effective sinker to limit the Padres to one run and four hits. The 25-year-old Lyons was a ninth-round draft pick in 2010 out of Oklahoma State.

The Cardinals announced before that game that Garcia will have season-ending shoulder surgery this week. The lefty went 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA in nine starts this year, helping St. Louis bolt to the majors' best record at 30-16.

Yadier Molina had four hits and Carlos Beltran finished with three as the Cardinals took two of three from the Padres.

Lyons continued a positive trend this season for St. Louis, which has used six rookie starting pitchers already. Lyons is the second lefty to get a win in his major league debut in the last nine days. The other is John Gast, who beat the New York Mets on May 14.

"It's been of great benefit to get solid outings out of some young pitchers," manager Mike Matheny said. "These guys have come into some tough situations and performed admirably.

"We're proud of how the guys are going about their business despite instances that could be described as adversity. They play hard every day and they put a lot of faith in each other and the next man up."

While Lyons pitched well, San Diego rookie Burch Smith failed to record an out in the second inning for the second time in three major league starts. He was optioned to Triple-A Tucson after the game.

The right-hander struggled with his command, walking three before he was lifted with no outs in the second. Tim Stauffer came in and got Matt Holliday to hit into a double play, but Matt Carpenter scored to give the Cardinals a 4-0 lead.

Smith allowed five hits and has given up 15 runs and 16 hits in just 7 1/3 innings. The Padres will make a corresponding roster move on Friday at Arizona.

"Burch has excellent stuff, but at times it looked as though he was trying too hard," manager Bud Black said. "He struggled against major league hitters but, in the long run, this guy's going to be fine."

Holliday had an RBI triple in the first that was confirmed by a video review. The ball landed just below the yellow border in right field, but it came down from a difficult angle that prompted Matheny to question whether it was a home run.

Holliday scored on Allen Craig's single, and Daniel Descalso added a run-scoring double.

Molina singled in a run in the fifth but that was the only blemish for Stauffer, who allowed eight hits and struck out seven in 5 2-3 innings.

Stauffer kept San Diego in the game, but the offense never got going.

Rookie Jedd Gyorko got the Padres on the board with a towering home run to center field in the seventh. Gyorko's drive went 438 feet and is the longest at Petco Park this season. He has the three longest Padres home runs this season.

Alexi Amarista added a two-run single in the ninth for San Diego.


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