Cards power up with three HRs vs. Padres

Cards power up with three HRs vs. Padres

ST. LOUIS -- Jedd Gyorko's former team came to town on Monday night, but he did nothing at all to make them feel welcome.

The Cardinals second baseman powered his club to a series-opening 10-2 victory over the Padres, going 3-for-3 with a rally-starting single in the sixth and a solo homer in the seventh. Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty also went deep for St. Louis.

"I'm just seeing the ball well and putting good swings on it," Gyorko said. "Obviously, any time you can win, it's a good thing."

Right-hander Mike Leake struck out 11 over six innings, and allowed just one run -- Matt Kemp's solo shot in the fourth. Few would consider Leake a strikeout artist, but he's been just that recently. He's fanned double digits in each of his past two outings -- after having done so just twice in his career before that.

Double-digit K's becoming common for Leake

"He was very good again," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That's a couple impressive ones in a row. He's able to make big pitches in big situations. We talk about him being a guy who pounds the zone and gets ground balls, but he was so good on the corners today -- he racked up a lot of strikeouts. Just a very good outing from him."

Leake's 11-strikeout performance

San Diego left-hander Christian Friedrich never found the strike zone, and he came undone in the fateful sixth. Friedrich -- who threw 99 pitches, only 52 for strikes -- allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and five walks.

But the game didn't unravel for the Friars until Friedrich's day was done, as relievers Carlos Villanueva, Jose Dominguez and Matt Thornton allowed six runs over the final three frames.

"[Friedrich] didn't have his best stuff, didn't have his command, [but] he gave us an opportunity to win the game," Padres manager Andy Green said. "Bullpen came in and just did not have a good day."

Friedrich escapes a jam in 1st

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Swingin' Friars: When Kemp launched a Leake fastball onto the center-field lawn, it marked his third dinger in as many games. As for the Padres, they've now homered in a franchise-record 16 straight contests -- the longest streak by a National League team since the 2010 Brewers.

"We've just been swinging the bat well, having better at-bats. There's really not that much more you can say about it," Kemp said. "Everybody's got a plan, sticking to it and starting to hit the ball hard." More >

A little lucky: Leake scored on Matt Holliday's single in the fifth inning on an errant throw from Alex Dickerson. It was scored an error, but the ball hit Leake on his way to the plate and skipped away from catcher Derek Norris. Aledmys Diaz scored the go-ahead run from first base as a result. It was the second game in a row Diaz scored from first base on an error.

"I felt it," Leake said. "It didn't hurt, it just kind of glanced off me, it felt like."

Holliday helps give Cards a lead

Strategic sixth: A chess match broke out in the bottom of the sixth with two Cardinals on base and Leake's spot due up. Matheny called on Michael McKenry to pinch-hit, prompting Green to go to his bullpen for Villanueva. That's when Matheny countered with another pinch-hitter, lefty Matt Adams, who broke open the game with a two-run double. Matheny added after the game that McKenry would have hit if Friedrich hadn't left the game.

"Looked like he was tiring, to an extent," Green said of Friedrich. "[I'm] pretty confident standing on the mound, telling the guys, 'Villa's coming in, Adams is coming in to hit.' We knew what we were getting into when we did that."

Adams' pinch-hit two-run double

Homer hype: When Grichuk and Gyorko hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh, it marked the sixth time the Cardinals have accomplished the feat this season and gave them nine straight games with a home run. Grichuk has hit three home runs in the past five games and four since he was recalled from Memphis on July 5.

"Jedd is swinging the bat very well," Matheny said. "That ball had a lot of topspin, and he was able to get it out, and Randal's was just a missile. He has such high exit velocity, it's freakish."

QUOTABLE
"Even the outs I was getting, [I was] falling behind guys. Same old story: You just have to get ahead of guys and execute." -- Friedrich

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Gyorko is the first Cardinals player to homer in three consecutive games against the Padres since Rick Ankiel (four games over 2007 and 2008).

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Replay wasn't kind to the Padres over the weekend, as all six reviews went against them during their series against the Giants. But in the bottom of the second, Green challenged a ruling of safe at first base on a double-play ball to shortstop Alexei Ramirez. Replays confirmed that Ramirez, who stepped on second before throwing to first on one hop, did so just in time to nab the Cardinals' Greg Garcia.

Padres turn two

WHAT'S NEXT
Padres: In an effort to limit Colin Rea's innings, the Padres pushed their rookie right-hander to the back of the rotation after the All-Star break. With 12 days of rest between starts, Rea gets the ball on Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. PT for his first career appearance at Busch Stadium. A native of Cascade, Iowa, he will have a number of family and friends in attendance.

Cardinals: Carlos Martinez will take the mound in the second game of the four-game set with the Padres. He struck out 11 batters in his most recent outing and has a 1.34 ERA over his last six starts. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. CT.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.