Miles’ grand slam gives Cardinals 4-game sweep
ST. LOUIS (AP)—Tony La Russa was hoping for a line-drive single or a sacrifice fly. Aaron Miles, too.
Instead, he shocked the San Diego Padres with power.
Miles’ grand slam in the ninth inning, the first game-ending hit of his career, helped the St. Louis Cardinals recover from another blown save by Jason Isringhausen in a 9-5 victory over San Diego on Sunday that wrapped up a four-game sweep.
The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Miles has only seven homers in three seasons with the Cardinals.
“That’s a feeling I wasn’t sure I was going to get to experience, that walk-off homer,” Miles said. “I’ve never done it before, not in the minor leagues or on any field. That’s a great feeling.”
Troy Glaus’ three-run homer off Heath Bell in the eighth gave the Cardinals a two-run lead but the Padres rallied against Isringhausen, who blew his eighth save in 19 chances. He was booed by a sellout crowd after allowing three straight one-out hits, including an RBI double by Edgar Gonzalez.
Isringhausen got the shot at his first save since May 5 because replacement closer Ryan Franklin, who is 14-for-18, needed a day off after a two-inning save on Saturday.
“No matter how much a veteran he is, he’s trying to do more,” La Russa said. “And today, it was less.”
Brad Thompson (2-2) allowed a tying RBI double by Kevin Kouzmanoff before retiring Luke Carlin and Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded. The Cardinals swept a four-game series from the Padres for the first time since July 1990 and earned their first four-game sweep against any opponent since beating the Dodgers in July 2006.
Cha Seung Baek pitched into the seventh and added his first career home run for the Padres, who have lost six in a row and have been swept five times in series of three or more games. Scott Hairston hit his fourth career leadoff homer, three coming this year.
The Padres coughed up a five-run lead Saturday and a three-run cushion Friday, and led 3-1 after six innings Sunday.
“Hey, we’ve got to keep playing,” manager Bud Black said. “You saw us come back after going down two runs in the ninth. That can be demoralizing, but I think you saw our team bounced back.”
Bryan Corey (1-2) walked Albert Pujols on four pitches with one out in the ninth and Pujols went to third on a wild pickoff throw by catcher Carlin, an eighth-inning substitute. Pinch-hitter Yadier Molina and Skip Schumaker were walked to load the bases before Miles hit his second career slam, and only his third homer of the season, on a 2-1 pitch.
It was the franchise’s 10th game-ending grand slam, and first since Gary Bennett beat the Cubs on Aug. 27, 2006.
“I saw him get way off the bag, but the pitch is up and I’ve got to hold onto the ball,” Carlin said. “It was just a stupid play by me to throw the ball.
“I tried to be overaggressive and unfortunately it hurt us.”
Pujols and Rick Ankiel added an RBI apiece for the Cardinals, who have won five straight and rallied to win in each game of the series against the sagging Padres, taking the finale in 95-degree heat to go a season-best 14 games above .500. Pujols’ pinch-hit sacrifice fly off Mike Adams shaved the deficit to one run in the seventh.
Glaus also singled and scored in the seventh and is batting .528 (19-for-36) with five homers during a career-best nine-game hitting streak. He has 18 homers on the year after going to the final day of May with only two, and belted a 1-1 pitch from Bell well over the wall in left-center.
Baek allowed one earned run in 6 1-3 innings. He was 1-for-11 for his career at the plate before homering to the power alley off rookie Jaime Garcia, a two-run shot in the fifth that put the Padres ahead 3-1, and conserved his strength for the mound with an ultra-slow trot once he knew the ball had cleared the fence.
Schumaker just missed a leaping catch in left on Hairston’s drive to open the game, the ball ticking off the top of his glove and over the wall before bounding back onto the field. The play was at first ruled a double but changed after a long conference involving all four umpires in the middle of the infield.
Ankiel had an RBI double in the first. He was 7-for-17 in the series with two homers and six RBIs.
Garcia, a 22-year-old left-hander who began the season at Double-A Springfield, made his first career start and gave up three runs on five hits in five innings.
Garcia was the youngest pitcher to start for the Cardinals since 21-year-old Bud Smith on Oct. 3, 2001. … Padres SS Khalil Greene was a late scratch due to lower back stiffness. … Hall of Fame SS Ozzie Smith was honored in a pregame ceremony for making the 50th anniversary Gold Glove team. … San Diego’s Edgar Gonzalez, who batted .308 in 126 games for the Cardinals’ Triple-A Memphis affiliate last year but did not get a call-up and asked for his release, was 8-for-17 with two homers and four RBIs in the series.
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