Losing two in a row is hardly a big deal, except that it's not something to which the 2020 Cardinals are accustomed. And speed is not something that has been a liability for Lane Thomas. Yet both results inured from Tuesday night's game at Petco Park.
The Cards (17-12) lost 3-2 to the San Diego Padres, and in the process, Thomas came up lame and clutching his foot rounding first base in the sixth inning and had to be replaced by Tyler O'Neill. Preliminary reports after the game showed a high ankle strain, which, as with the hamstring pull for Paul DeJong, could be a major bullet dodged.
There was no dodging Chris Paddack, though. The young (24) hurler threw a gem over eight innings, offering five hits, a couple walks and one run while striking out nine. That last figure is hardly unusual for Paddack, who struck out almost 10 per nine innings last year.
"He is just plain nasty, man," said Cards center fielder Harrison Bader, who struck out twice and weakly grounded against Paddack. "Given what he was throwing, I'm kind of pleased with the two runs. Other than the loss, of course."
Padres closer Kirby Yates secured the save in the ninth, surrendering a bases-empty homer to O'Neill, but otherwise striking out the side.
Paddack was competitively tested by Cards starter Kyung Hyun Kim, who went six innings and was responsible for the three Padres runs. But they all came on a three-run blast by former Cardinal Tommy Pham, and other than that clump in the third inning, Kim threw goose eggs.
Kim's trouble started after getting Fernando Tatis Jr. to fly out to right. He walked Wil Meyers, starting at first in place of regular Eric Hosmer against the lefty Kim. Manny Machado pulled a seeing-eye grounder between shortstop Brad Miller and third baseman Tommy Edman. Then Pham connected with a first-pitch fastball that missed location and found Pham's extended sweet spot.
"Yeah, there's some pleasure succeeding against the Cards," said Pham. "They're my friends though, too. I love so many of those guys. It's been cool checking in with them when we're not on the field. There, it's all business, man."
Paddack was scattering and grooving until the sixth, when Edman, batting from the left side, drove one down the right-field line past a driving Meyers. It caromed in the corner, allowing Edman to scamper to third. With two outs, Thomas singled to left, and as Edman scored, Thomas rounded first and pulled up, actually being tagged out by second baseman Jurickson Profar.
"He may be okay, he may not," said bench coach Oliver Marmol. "We got him in to the trainer fast, and iced and wrapped the ankle. Hope the (X ray) pictures are negative."
The Cardinals bullpen was back in its characteristically strong mode. Tyler Webb took the seventh, and other than a single to pinch hitter Brian Dozier, kept it calm. Andrew Miller looked strong in the eighth, striking out two and allowing a line drive out right at Edman.
Next Up and Notes: The Cards hope to get a win in San Diego tomorrow, as Carlos Martinez faces righty Dineson Lamet. CMart was strong in the Cards 6-1 victory last Friday night against the Miami Marlins, and is settling back into the starting groove. The Cards aren't quite sure what will happen when Miles Mikolas returns as expected in May. Whether the decision is based on who's pitched the best, or who can contribute best in the bullpen, is anyone's guess right now.