The win snapped San Diego's three-game losing streak and sent St. Louis to a third straight home loss for the first time this year. Venable's blast came after the Padres successfully challenged Clint Barmes' drive down the right-field line that stayed in fair territory. It had initially been ruled foul.
"To catch it and hold on to it, sliding on the way there, there's just not much room right there where the line is," said Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward, who tried to make a sliding catch of Barmes' ball. "I didn't see it hit when I slid. I didn't know where it hit. Once I got up I was able to see there was a mark right on the line, so I was like, 'Whoop, there you go.'"
Venable said he was looking for a breaking ball from Villanueva.
"I knew I'd hit it well, I knew I'd kind of hit it high, too. I was just hoping it would get away from [Peter] Bourjos and [Jason] Heyward. They're really good outfielders," Venable said.
Padres starter Tyson Ross finished six innings and gave the club an early, 3-1, lead with his first career home run. His chances of notching a third straight win fizzled when he allowed the Cardinals to tie the game with a two-run fifth.
Recalled from Triple-A for his second Major League start, Cardinals starter Tim Cooney struck out six over six innings while allowing three runs (two earned). He was stung by a pair of homers and a costly fielding error from third baseman Matt Carpenter.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
No more streaking: The Padres managed to snap their 22-inning scoreless streak when Yangervis Solarte connected for a home run in the second inning. For Solarte, it was his first home run since April 16.
Chances wasted: Carpenter ended the team's skid of 24 hitless at-bats with a runner in scoring position with his RBI single in the fifth, but the Cards otherwise had little RISP success. Carpenter's hit was the only one the Cardinals tallied in 13 chances with a runner in scoring position. More >
"It's been pretty consistent, when we let those [opportunities] go, they come back and bite us," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "And also missed [defensive] plays, non-plays. When these games have gone in the wrong direction, those usually hurt."
Big arm, bigger bat: Ross has a good night on the mound and an even better one at the plate, as his fifth-inning home run gave the Padres a 3-1 lead. For Ross, it was his first home run in 121 career at-bats.
On the money: Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina twice helped Cooney erase a leadoff baserunner by throwing him out trying to steal second. Molina caught Melvin Upton Jr. in the first inning after an infield single. In the sixth, he nabbed Matt Kemp from his knees. The sellout crowd responded with a standing ovation. Molina has thrown out 12 of 29 attempting basestealers this year.
"I didn't know he was 1-for-17. I'm glad I didn't know that," -- Padres interim manager Pat Murphy on Venable's pinch-hitting statistics going into his 11th-inning at-bat
"I was pretty happy with how it went, especially compared to how my debut went. I commanded the fastball better, threw some of my offspeed pitches for strikes, especially later in the game as I got going. I think I got a little bit better." -- Cooney, on his second big league start
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Before Solarte's home run Thursday, the Padres had gone 22 consecutive innings without a run. Oddly enough, the streak was the third-such scoreless streak of 22 innings this season for the team, as they had one in April and another in May.
The Padres made a key challenge in the 11th on a Clint Barmes flyball that was ruled foul after Heyward made an unsuccessful attempt at a sliding catch. Replay, however, showed that the ball landed on the foul line, and the call was overturned after a one-minute, five-second review.
WALK THIS WAY
Ross walked five on Thursday, marking the third time in his last four starts he's walked exactly five hitters. It's also the fourth time he's walked five in a game this season.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres: The Padres will send Andrew Cashner (3-9, 4.22) to the mound on at 5:15 p.m. PT Friday in the second game of the series. Cashner is coming off his first victory in a month, as he allowed two runs in seven innings to the D-backs. He has never made a start at Busch Stadium and hasn't faced the Cardinals since 2012.
Cardinals:Michael Wacha will make his first career start against the Padres in Friday's game, which is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m. CT. Wacha ranks second in the NL in wins (10), eighth in ERA (2.77) and first in run support (6.30).