The punchless Padres fell to .500 (50-50) for the first time since May 4 with a 4-2 loss on Tuesday. San Diego was 14 games above .500 on May 31, when it completed the best month (22-6) in franchise history.
San Diego continues to lead Arizona by three games in the weak NL West despite going 17-31 since June 1.
“It’s almost comical,” said right-hander Woody Williams, who made four postseason starts for the Cardinals last year before joining the Padres as a free agent. “It’s amazing we’re still three games up.”
A day after rejecting a trade to Baltimore that would have sent right-hander Sidney Ponson to San Diego, Phil Nevin made his first start at catcher since 1999 and batted cleanup. Nevin lost his starting job at first base because he was slumping at the plate.
Nevin received warm ovations when the starting lineups were introduced and when he came to bat in the first inning. However, he was booed after hitting into a force play to end the third inning, hitting into a double play to end the fifth and fouling out in the seventh. He finished 0-for-4 and flied out to left to end the game.
“It wasn’t quite the storybook ending, was it?” Nevin said. “It was tough. I just wish it would have ended a little different.”
Xavier Nady, who replaced Nevin at first, went 3-for-3 with a walk and a run. The Padres stranded 10 runners and hit into three double plays.
The Cardinals ended a two-game skid with Tuesday’s victory. John Gall, who was called up from Triple-A Memphis to replace Larry Walker, who was put on the disabled list with a neck injury, had two hits and scored twice in his debut.