ST. LOUIS -- The Padres can't play this way if they expect to win even a single game in this best-of-five series: Jake Peavy gets his spike caught in the mound and tosses a 55-foot, bases-loaded wild pitch that contributes to one run. First baseman Mark Sweeney couldn't handle Reggie Sanders' bases-loaded grounder that allows two more runs.
And then the offense grounding into three double plays in the first four innings.
It's center stage in the first round of the playoffs, and the Cardinals have been here too many times before. Like last year, when they beat up on the Dodgers' Odalis Perez in Game 1 of their National League Division Series to take a 7-0 lead through four innings, on the way to swamping Los Angeles in four games.
The Padres hadn't been to the playoffs since 1998 and didn't appear to be ready for prime time in the 8-5 loss that began with them falling behind, 8-0, in the fifth inning.
|ERA||9.00||First-inning homer to Jim Edmonds set the stage for a long afternoon|
|BA||.351||9 of the 13 hits came after the score was 8-0|
|Runs||5||You can't score early when you don't put men on base|
|Errors||1||Khalil Greene booted one ball, but there were plenty of other misplays|
|Clay Hensley||2/3-inning, 1 walk, 2 outs||Came in after Reggie's slam and stopped the bleeding|
|Eric Young||1-for-2, 2 RBIs||Had a pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning|
|Peavy||4 1/3 innings, 8 runs, 8 hits, 2 homers||First postseason appearance, big postseason bust|
The Dodgers were blown out, 16-6, in the first two games of the NLDS last year at Busch Stadium, both 8-3 losses. The Dodgers won one game in the series -- Game 3, behind Jose Lima's complete game at Dodger Stadium -- but folded in Game 4. That's a lot for the Padres to look forward to.
With the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning, Larry Walker at the plate and the Cardinals leading, 1-0, Peavy nearly fell off the mound and uncorked a wild pitch that allowed David Eckstein to score. Peavy and the game were never the same after that.
Manager Bruce Bochy had his best pitcher ready and well rested -- Peavy hadn't thrown in eight days. But the best-laid plans of mice and men ...
The Padres have now lost four straight postseason games to the Cardinals, including a three-game sweep in the 1996 NLDS. Their play on Tuesday did nothing to make you forget that they won the NL West with only an 82-80 record.
"Whoever pitches good in this series is going to win, and they had the couple of big innings there before we had it going. That was the difference."
-- Brian Giles
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.