Cardinals 8, Padres 4

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—The St. Louis Cardinals made sure they didn’t lose another one-run game.

Edgar Renteria had three hits and two RBIs as the Cardinals got 17 hits in an 8-4 win over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.

St. Louis, which lost the first two of the three-game series by a run and have lost 18 of 23 one-run decisions, got at least one hit from every position player.

“It’s nice to have a game like that where you just break out,” Tino Martinez said. “We’ve played a lot of close games, so it’s nice to able to coast a little bit.”

Martinez had three hits and scored three runs. Kerry Robinson added three hits and Scott Rolen had two RBIs for St. Louis, which avoided being swept by the Padres for the first time since August 1995.

“We had to do something to salvage this series,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “We got some timely hits and put the ball in play enough.”

Renteria’s RBI single in the third put St. Louis ahead 3-2 and his run-scoring double capped a two-run seventh that increased the lead to 7-3.

“The Cardinals can just outslug you,” San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s what they did today. We just couldn’t shut them down three days in a row.”

San Diego’s Phil Nevin returned from the 60-day disabled list and went 1-for-3 with a walk.

Brett Tomko (6-6) wasn’t overpowering, but the right-hander pitched effectively enough in key situations against his former team.

“I know the numbers don’t look pretty, but one of the keys was Tomko,” La Russa said. “He didn’t allow any (big) numbers to go up (on the scoreboard).”

Tomko allowed three runs and 10 hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked one as he faced the Padres for the first time since they traded him to St. Louis last December.

Tomko struck out Rondell White in the third and fifth innings with runners on first and second to end both innings.

“I’ve been struggling a lot lately,” Tomko said. “I gave up a lot of hits here, but I was able to make some pitches in some key situations that kept them out of any big innings.”

Mark Loretta went 3-for-5 and drove in three runs for the Padres, who had 12 hits. Mark Kotsay added two hits and scored twice.

Brian Lawrence (5-12) lost his third straight start, allowing five runs— four earned—and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings. He has lost five of his last six decisions and matched his loss total for 2002.

“They hit a lot of good pitches with two outs,” Lawrence said. “I don’t think I could have made better pitches in those situations. I can’t remember one.”

With the score 3-all, St. Louis knocked out Lawrence in the sixth.

Chris Widger hit an RBI groundout and pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro chased Lawrence with a run-scoring single. In the seventh, Rolen had a sacrifice fly off Scott Linebrink and Renteria hit an RBI double.

After three consecutive hits by San Diego—including Loretta’s RBI single— tied the game in the third at 3-all, the Padres managed five singles the restof the game.

Notes

Palmeiro is hitting .370 (10-for-27) as a pinch-hitter. … Cardinals CF Jim Edmonds (shoulder) was held out of the starting lineup for the fourth time in the seven games. … Padres 3B Sean Burroughs didn’t start for second straight game because of a hip flexor. He pinch-hit in the ninth and waswalked.

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