Peavy can't fend off Cards in loss
Starter ties career high after being tagged with four homers
ST. LOUIS -- It's not uncommon for Padres manager Bud Black to remind his pitchers of a familiar refrain, one that's essentially become a teaching tool throughout his career as a pitching coach and now a manager.
"I've told my pitchers over the years that you don't get beat on solo home runs," Black said. "Tonight we did."
The Padres, who have lost by foot, by glove and certainly plenty of times by bat, or the lack thereof, dropped the first game of the second half of the season Thursday when pitcher Jake Peavy allowed four solo home runs in a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals before a crowd of 42,148 at Busch Stadium.
In a season filled with peculiarities, go ahead and add Peavy's unusual night to the mix.
"I'm going to go on record and say that's not going to happen in Jake's career again," Black said.
Peavy allowed two home runs to Troy Glaus, another to Rick Ankiel and, then, in what the defending Cy Young Award winner considered his biggest misgiving of the game, another home run to rookie Joe Mather -- a pinch-hit job, no less.
After the game, Peavy (7-5) -- who has only allowed four home runs one other time in his career, coming on July 9, 2003, against the Diamondbacks -- shouldered the blame, insisting that he wasn't nearly as aggressive pitching out of the stretch.
"I can't let that happen," Peavy said. "I didn't make many good pitches with two strikes. I wasn't aggressive enough. You don't think solo home runs are going to beat you. No way I can let a guy come in cold off the bench. ... There's no excuse for that."
Aside from the home runs, which included back-to-back shots in the fourth inning by Ankiel and Glaus -- Peavy didn't pitch poorly. He yielded eight hits, struck out seven and allowed no walks over seven innings. He even had two of the Padres' nine hits.
The Padres provided Peavy with two early runs. Kevin Kouzmanoff bounced a two-out RBI single into left field in the first inning off Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse (12-2). Two innings later, Edgar Gonzalez connected with a home run, his fourth of the season.
San Diego might well have been in line for more runs against the Cardinals (54-43) in that third inning. Two batters after Gonzalez's home run, Adrian Gonzalez singled and moved to second base when Lohse walked Kouzmanoff.
Lohse got ahead of Chase Headley with two quick strikes, and then tried to run a fastball in on Headley's hands. Headley turned on the ball and hit it down the first-base line only to find Albert Pujols, who appeared to break behind Kouzmanoff for an apparent pickoff throw. Instead of an extra-base hit, Pujols snared the ball, stepped on the bag and tagged Kouzmanoff out to end the inning.
"That was frustrating," Headley said. "I hit it right down the line. ... It was a little bit of bad luck and bad timing."
That, however, wasn't the extent of the bad luck, bad timing or whatever you call it for the Padres.
Trailing 4-2 entering the ninth inning, Kouzmanoff doubled down the left-field line off Cardinals reliever Ryan Franklin. Headley then followed with a double to the fence in left-center field to cut the lead to 4-3.
Pinch-hitter Brian Myrow, who figures to get the at-bats that Tony Clark, who was sent to Arizona earlier Thursday, would get, was called upon to get the tying run home -- or at least move it over to third base. But Myrow struck out.
Franklin then got Nick Hundley to ground out as Headley advanced to third base. Franklin ended the threat after pinch-hitter Luis Rodriguez grounded out to end the game.
"Brian has been swinging the bat very well in the Minor Leagues," Black said of Myrow, who won the Pacific Coast League batting title in 2007. "We were looking for something good to happen. He [Franklin] made Brian expand the zone."
Myrow figures to get plenty of looks off the bench moving forward in the second half of the season, as will Rodriguez and Chip Ambres -- who arrived at the stadium in the sixth inning Thursday after experiencing flu-like symptoms.
"You look at our bench, it looks a little different," Black said. "These guys are going to be given an opportunity to show what they can do."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.