Chances to score, solid relief elude Cardinals

St. Louis turned the season’s first triple play but stranded runners with the game tied in the seventh.
Friday, May 6, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:05 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 8, 2008

ST. LOUIS — Brian Giles had four hits and five RBIs Thursday night in the San Diego Padres’ 8-3 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals, who turned the first triple play in the major leagues this season.

Giles ended a 0-for-22 slump by hitting a three-run home run and going 4-for-5, including an eighth-inning single that drove in the go-ahead run.

Chris Hammond (3-0) escaped a bases-loaded situation in the seventh to help the Padres end an 11-game losing streak in St. Louis with their first victory at Busch Stadium since Aug. 28, 2001. St. Louis is 43-9 against San Diego in the past six seasons, and has won 19 of the last 22 at home.

The Cardinals bailed out starter Matt Morris in the second with their first triple play since 2002. Giles was on first and Phil Nevin was on second and both were running on a 1-0 pitch to Ramon Hernandez. He hit a line drive to Albert Pujols, who stepped on first and threw to second.

A fielding error by second baseman Mark Grudzielanek on a potential inning-ending double-play ball by Phil Nevin preceded Giles’ fourth home run in the fourth, and a wild throw by reliever Ray King (0-1) gave Mark Loretta an extra base in the Padres’ two-run eighth.

While being replaced, King was ejected for arguing with plate umpire Mark Carlson, after Hernandez’s RBI single made it 5-3.

The Padres added three runs in the ninth on an RBI single by Jesse Garcia, a sacrifice fly by Nevin and an RBI single by Giles, who was 4-for-5.

Pujols extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a double in the sixth. St. Louis’ 18-8 start before losing the opener of an eight-game homestand had been the franchise’s best since the 1948 team also started 18-8. The Cardinals were coming off a three-game sweep at Cincinnati.

Padres starter Brian Lawrence lasted 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs and seven hits. A career .138 hitter entering the season, he singled off Morris’ foot in the third and walked in the fifth.

Hammond kept the score tied in the seventh when Scott Rolen popped up with the bases loaded for the last out.

Grudzielanek’s second home run of the season led off the seventh and cut the deficit to 3-2. The Cardinals tied it later in the inning on two singles and a wild throw to first by shortstop Damian Jackson on a potential inning-ending double play ball by Larry Walker.

Morris lasted seven innings and gave up three runs — two earned — and six hits. He struck out five and walked two in his fourth straight strong start since coming off the 15-day disabled list in mid-April following offseason shoulder surgery. The last triple play in the majors was turned by Houston against Philadelphia on Aug. 19, 2004, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

MOVES: Dissatisfied with their middle relief situation, the Cardinals on Thursday activated left-hander Bill Pulsipher off the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Brad Thompson from Triple-A Memphis.

Those two take the place of left-hander Carmen Cali and right-hander Jimmy Journell, who both have struggled with control. Both were optioned to Memphis.

“We’ve got two really talented guys in Jim and Carmen and we think they need a little more time and experience,” manager Tony La Russa said. “At the same time, we need to take a look at Pulsipher and Thompson is an intriguing guy because we like ground balls and he can throw the ground ball.”

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