SAN DIEGO -- Behind two home runs from Jose Martinez, the Cardinals continued their playoff push Tuesday, downing the Padres, 8-4, at Petco Park.
Martinez put St. Louis ahead with a two-run blast off Travis Wood in the first inning, extending his hitting streak to seven games. After a third-inning double, Martinez hit his second homer in the seventh off Buddy Baumann, punctuating the Cardinals' victory as they improved to four games back of the Cubs in the National League Central and remained three games behind Colorado in the NL Wild Card standings.
This marked the second time in three days that Martinez had tallied three extra-base hits in a game. He is 11-for-20 during his hitting streak.
"He just had a great day," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We talk about sparks; he's coming up with big at-bats in big situations."
The Padres evened the game in the first when Wil Myers brought a run in with a single to center and center fielder Harrison Bader's wild throw allowed another run to score on the play.
Bader more than made up for it in the second inning, blasting a three-run homer to give St. Louis a lead that endured the rest of the night.
Wood homered off Michael Wacha in the bottom of the frame, but he was unable to get an out in the third as he was tagged with six earned runs.
"Really, whatever pitch was thrown, it ended up middle-middle," Padres manager Andy Green said. "[Wood] caught too much plate. He's not the type of guy that can pitch in the middle of the plate and be successful. He's going to depend on command. Just wasn't locating well enough today to get through good hitters."
Wacha recovered from a rough beginning to pitch a quality start, allowing four runs (three earned) in six innings. He held the Padres scoreless over his final four innings.
"I was missing up in the zone quite a bit in the first couple innings," said Wacha, who improved to 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA in four career starts against the Padres. "[My] stuff wasn't quite as sharp as I'd want it to be coming into the game. After those first couple innings, I was able to settle down and start throwing strikes in the bottom of the zone."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Keeping it 100: Martinez entered play Tuesday with 11 homers, all of which came off the bat with an exit velocity of at least 100 mph. He kept that trend going, with his first-inning shot off Wood hit at 102.9 mph. He upped it with his 107.1-mph homer in the seventh, his third-hardest of 2017. It was the second two-homer game for the rookie.
"I think it's the confidence I have going up there trying to do something to help the team," Martinez said of his recent run of success. "Whatever pitcher is going to be out there, I'm just trying to put a good swing on the ball and make something happen. Everything is going well for me."
Wood's wood: For the second time in as many starts, Wood homered, crushing the first pitch he saw from Wacha to the Western Metal Building in left field. Wood became the third Padres pitcher to homer in back-to-back outings and the first pitcher in the Majors to do so since Madison Bumgarner in 2015.
"I'd already given up two," Wood said. "Just looking to have a good at-bat really. Try to get on base, do anything I can do."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Bader became the 10th player in Cardinals history to homer three times in his first 11 Major League games. Jeremy Hazelbaker (2016) had been the last to accomplish the feat.
"That team that started in Memphis was a real talented team. I think we all knew that. I guess in many ways it was just a matter of time before we all came up together. Everyone is having really good years and doing really positive things down there. So to see it all come together at the end of the season is poetic, in a sense, because now we're in a race. We're just trying to do everything we can to contribute." -- Bader, on the Cardinals starting seven position players who spent time at Triple-A this season
"He's strong as an ox." -- Green, on right-hander Miguel Diaz, who set career highs in innings (four) and strikeouts (six) in scoreless relief More >>
Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter confirmed after the game that he received a cortisone shot to try to quell the inflammation in his ailing right shoulder. Carpenter, who has been diagnosed with bursitis, will be sidelined for the rest of this series. More >>
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
A successful use of their challenge helped the Cardinals tack on an extra run in the third inning. The Cardinals asked for a second look after Martinez was called out trying to advance to third on a ground ball. Replay confirmed that his hand reached the base ahead of the tag, and the call was overturned. On the play, San Diego's Yangervis Solarte was charged with his first error in 138 innings at shortstop this season.
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: Right-hander Jack Flaherty will make his second Major League start as the series continues at Petco Park on Wednesday night at 9:10 CT. Flaherty, a southern California native, allowed five runs on eight hits and struck out six in his four-inning debut.
Padres:Dinelson Lamet will look to keep his hot stretch going Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. PT. The rookie right-hander has a 2.49 ERA in his past nine starts, including a 10-strikeout outing against the Dodgers his last time out. Preview >>