Now that he’s back home, Chris Young will try to extend a season-long scoreless streak there.
Young (4-2, 3.29 ERA) has posted a 0.76 ERA while during his win streak at home dating back to Sept. 22. In two starts there this year, the right-hander has allowed just seven hits and five walks in 15 innings pitched.
“I settled in early,” Young told the Padres’ official Web site after defeating Washington on May 1, his last home start. “I think as the game progressed (pitches were) going where I wanted.”
Six days later, Young gave up two runs and two hits with a season-high tying eight strikeouts over six innings of a 4-2 win in Atlanta.
When Young last faced St. Louis, he allowed four hits over 6 2-3 scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in the Padres’ 3-1 win on Oct. 7 in Game 3 of a NL division series contest. That was the only postseason victory for the Padres, who were eliminated in four games while the Cardinals went on to win the World Series.
Young will try to follow up San Diego’s 7-0 rout in the series opener. Jake Peavy held St. Louis to three hits through seven scoreless innings and set a franchise record by recording at least 10 strikeouts in his fourth straight start.
“That’s a humbling record,” said Peavy, who has major-league best 66 strikeouts. “There’s been a lot of great pitchers come through this organization.”
Russell Branyan—who had been hitless in 11 at-bats over his last six games — hit two homers and drove in four while starting at third base in place of struggling rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff.
With the win, San Diego (19-17) improved to 10-5 at home over St. Louis since Sept. 8, 2004. That success, though, hasn’t extended to the postseason as the Padres have lost six of seven NLDS meetings against the Cardinals (14-19) over the last two years.
Converted reliever Braden Looper (4-2, 2.66), the Cardinals’ most consistent starter, will pitch Saturday. The right-hander rebounded from his worst start by giving up a run and six hits in six innings of a 3-1 home win over Houston on Sunday.
“I didn’t have my best stuff, but I was able to battle through it and make a few good pitches when I really needed to,” said Looper, who allowed six runs— five earned—and 11 hits in five innings of a 12-2 loss on May 1 in Milwaukee.
Looper is 1-3 with a 2.52 ERA in 27 appearances against the Padres, but has never faced them as a starter.
Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols went 0-for-4 in the opener, and is hitting only .095 (2-for-21) with one RBI in his last six games. The 2005 NL MVP is 1-for-6 with three strikeouts in his career against Young during the regular season and postseason.
St. Louis has failed to score in its last 24 innings on the road since plating one in the third inning in Looper’s last outing.