The St. Louis Cardinals entered Monday night's series opener against the San Diego Padres in the midst of a four-game losing streak, the second such streak in the club's last ten games. The Cards appeared set to squander an excellent outing from starter Jaime Garcia when Tyler Greene blasted a two-run home run to right-center field that put the Cardinals in the lead for good and kept St. Louis alone atop the National League Central standings.
Garcia put together a solid start on the evening. The southpaw scattered seven hits and gave up only one run over seven innings. Garcia notched seven strikeouts to only one walk. Despite only allowing a single run, Garcia was on the hook for the pitching "loss" due to a lack of run support.
Entering the bottom of the seventh inning, the Padres led 1-0. Greene started the rally off with a single. After Shane Robinson grounded out, Garcia helped his cause with a single of his own. With runners on the corners, Rafael Furcal singled home Greene, who was the tying run. A Matt Carpenter groundout plated Garcia, which gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game and put Garcia in line for a pitching "win."
Garcia gave up a leadoff double to start the visiting half of the eighth and was promptly lifted for Mitchell Boggs, who induced a groundout and strikeout before giving way to Marc Rzcepczynski. The lefty known as "Scrabble" walked the left-handed hitting Yonder Alonso and was replaced by Jason Motte to face Jose Guzman. Guzman rapped a 96-MPH fastball for a double that scored two runs and gave San Diego the lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Carlos Beltran led off with a strikeout. Yadier Molina then singled to center to breath life into the rally. Rookie Matt Adams then struck out for the second out of the inning. In stepped Greene. After starting the rally in the seventh, the second baseman ended one in the eighth with the game-winning two-run dinger.
The homer was Greene's third hit of the game. Greene notched two ribbies and scored two runs in the game to go with his three hits. Such performances are becoming a hallmark of sorts for Greene with tonight's three-hit game marked the third such game in the month of May. The last one occurred on May 15 against the Cubs, an effort that commenced a hot streak during which Greene has notched eight hits.
The Cardinals and Padres are slated to square off in the second game of the series tomorrow night at 7:15 CDT when Adam Wainwright squares off against Edinson Volquez.