SAN DIEGO -- In a matchup of rookie pitchers, Tyler Lyons had the better hand.
Lyons tossed a four-hitter in his major-league debut as the St. Louis Cardinals recorded a 5-3 victory over the San Diego Padres before 18,683 fans at Petco Park on Wednesday night.
Lyons (1-0) gave up a run with four strikeouts and a walk in seven innings. He lost his bid for a shutout in the seventh inning when rookie second baseman Jedd Gyorko led off by hitting the first pitch for a booming home run, estimated at 438 feet, to straight-away center. It was Gyorko's fifth home run.
But that was the only blemish for the left-handed Lyons, a ninth-round selection in the 2010 draft out of Oklahoma State.
San Diego starter Burch Smith had an awful outing, one that could result in him getting his ticket punched back to Class AA San Antonio. Smith (0-1) was tagged for four runs on five hits and three walks in an inning. After throwing 42 pitches, he was relieved in the second by Tim Stauffer.
The Cardinals (30-16) took two of three in the series from the Padres (21-25). Yadier Molina went 4-for-5 with an RBI and equaled his career-high of four hits.
The Cardinals sent nine batters to the plate in the first inning and produced three runs. Matt Holliday drove in the first with one out when his drive to right field just missed going out, bouncing off the wall for a triple and scoring Matt Carpenter. Holliday scored on a single to left by Allen Craig for a 2-0 St. Louis lead before Craig came home on a double to right by Daniel Descalso with two outs.
Leadoff singles by Carpenter and Carlos Beltran chased Smith, who was making his third major-league start after being promoted from San Antonio on May 11.
St. Louis increased the margin to 4-0 when Carpenter scored on Holliday's double-play groundout in the second.
In the fifth, Molina singled to drive in Beltran with two outs for a 5-0 advantage.
NOTES: Chargers wide receiver Danario Alexander threw out the first pitch. ... St. Louis 3B David Freese missed his third game in a row after getting stitches near the base of his right thumb following an injury suffered in Sunday's win over Milwaukee. Manager Mike Matheny said Freese will have the stitches removed Friday and could play in the opening game of a three-game series with the Dodgers in L.A. ... The Cardinals activated Lyons before the game and placed RHP Fernando Salas on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to May 21) with a right shoulder strain. ... Lyons became the sixth rookie pitcher the Cardinals have used this season, joining Shelby Miller, Seth Maness, Carlos Martinez, John Gast and Trevor Rosenthal, who have combined for 10 wins. ... Padres LF Carlos Quentin missed his second consecutive game with a sore left knee after injuring it during an awkward slide at home in Monday's contest. Quentin received an injection in the knee Tuesday. With an off day Thursday, Quentin could return Friday for the beginning of a three-game set at Arizona.