Two starting pitchers came into Wednesday afternoon's game in San Diego with sickly records. And though both Chris Carpenter and Mat Latos pitched exceptionally well, only one could win as the Padres came up with two somewhat lucky runs in the bottom of the eighth to beat the Cardinals, 3-1.
Carpenter entered his 11th start with just one win and a 4.88 ERA, though he's almost certainly deserved better.
Latos, so good last season, entered his ninth start with just one win and a 4.60 ERA. Latos has also probably deserved better, but he'd been hurt badly by giving up eight home runs already.
The Cardinals struck early. John Jay led off the game with a double, moved to third on Allen Craig's sacrifice, and -- after Albert Pujols lined out -- Jay scored on Lance Berkman's single up the middle.
In the bottom of the second inning, Brad Hawpe evened the score with a home run down the right-field, deep into the stands.
After which, Carpenter and Latos took over, scattering the occasional hits but issuing exactly zero bases on balls.
Padres shortstop Jason Bartlett did lead off the bottom of the sixth with a triple. But he was stuck at third base when Chase Headley grounded out, and things only got worse. Ryan Ludwick chopped a grounder to Carpenter, who turned toward third and saw Bartlett well off the base and threw to third baseman Daniel Descalso, who ran Bartlett toward home before tagging him well short of the plate. Meanwhile, Ludwick had rounded first and headed for second, only to find the ball waiting for him after Descalso's perfect throw. And so an inning that began with such promise ended in shame.
The Padres took another hit in the bottom of the seventh, when Orlando Hudson reached base on an infield single, but reinjured the hamstring that landed him on the disabled list earlier this month, and was forced to leave the game.
It was still 1-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth, with Latos and Carpenter still the pitchers of record. Carpenter struck out Rob Johnson, and retired Blake Tekotte -- making his major-league debut -- on a liner to right field. Then things got dicey. First, Bartlett reached on a bunt single. Headley shot a line drive down the left-field line. Berkman reached the ball in good order, made the short throw to shortstop Tyler Greene, whose relay throw home was in plenty of time to nail Bartlett ... except Yadier Molina couldn't handle the short hop, the ball skipping past him and Bartlett scoring the lead run, with Headley moving to third on Greene's error.
Headley would score moments later on Ryan Ludwick's single to third base, but that run was irrelevant because Heath Bell pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 10th save, preserve Latos's second victory, and continue Carpenter's run of bad luck.