The San Diego Padres haven’t swept a three-game series in St. Louis in more than 30 years. It’s been even longer since they started their season with such a run.
San Diego looks to continue its solid start Sunday when it finishes its series against the short-handed Cardinals.
The Padres (2-0) trailed 3-2 heading into the fourth inning Saturday, then struck for nine unanswered runs for an 11-3 victory. With a win Sunday, San Diego can complete its first three-game sweep in St. Louis since May 23-25, 1980.
“The Cardinals have always played the Padres extremely tough here,” manager Bud Black said. “There’s a long ways to go and it’s only two games.”
San Diego last began its season with a three-game sweep April 8-10, 1969, against Houston, the first three games in franchise history. The Padres began their NL championship season of 1984 with a two-game sweep of Pittsburgh - the last time they started a season with a sweep.
However, St. Louis’ offense sputtered from there on out, getting only one more hit over the final six innings. The Cardinals were playing without outfielder Matt Holliday(notes), who is expected to miss a couple of weeks after an appendectomy.
St. Louis declined to put Holliday on the disabled list in hopes he makes a quick recovery.
Pujols said the Cardinals need to remain focused without one of their top players.
“You can’t think about Matt because he’s out of the lineup. Everybody knows that,” Pujols said. “We need to go out there and those nine guys that (manager) Tony (La Russa) puts in the lineup, those are the guys that are going to do the job.”
Garcia is coming off a surprising 13-8 season with a 2.70 ERA which led to a third-place finish in NL rookie of the year voting. However, he allowed 40 hits in 23 innings and posted a 6.26 ERA in six exhibition starts.
Garcia made one start against the Padres last season, tossing six scoreless innings May 26 in the Cardinals’ 2-1, 13-inning loss.
Dustin Moseley(notes) will be making his first start for San Diego after going 4-4 with a 4.96 ERA in 16 appearances and nine starts with the New York Yankees in 2010. The right-hander has been mostly a reliever during his career but was able to secure a spot in the Padres’ rotation.
“You sometimes get forgotten, pitching in a long relief role,” Moseley told the Padres’ official website. “I’ve always been open to whatever role I’ve been given. I think it’s true that most pitchers want to start. But when it comes down to it, whatever role I can fill, however I make the team better, then I’m OK with that. I will roll with it.”
Moseley made two relief appearances against St. Louis in 2007 while with the Los Angeles Angels, giving up one run in 1 2-3 innings.