Cardinals beat Padres 6-3 for 3-game sweep


ST. LOUIS (AP) When the first five San Diego Padres reached safely, it looked as if it'd be a long night for rookie Lance Lynn. The St. Louis Cardinals pitcher showed veteran presence after that.

Lynn came back with five scoreless innings after a three-run first Wednesday night and the Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres and former St. Louis postseason star Jeff Suppan 6-3 for a three-game sweep.

At 7-1, the 25-year-old right-hander is tied with the Phillies' Cole Hamels for the major league victory lead.

''When you give it up, you can't keep giving it up or it's going to be a long night,'' Lynn said. ''You don't have to change your approach, you just have to grind more, concentrate more, dig deep and make a pitch when it matters.''

Lynn entered the season with one career victory, and didn't seem overly impressed with his total this year.

''We've got seven wins when I'm pitching,'' he said. ''That's all that matters.''

Carlos Beltran hit his NL-leading 14th home run for the go-ahead runs, also his first homer in 10 days. Before missing four straight starts with a sore right knee, Beltran had homered six times in six games.

''You can't expect that to happen every week, you know,'' Beltran said. ''I just hope that I can go out there and feel good at the plate and be able to contribute.

''Being able to hit home runs like that, it happens once or twice in a season.''

David Freese snapped a 3-for-34 slump with a homer and RBI single as the Cardinals had more than enough offense minus injured starters Lance Berkman, Jon Jay and Allen Craig. Berkman is out at least six to eight weeks with a knee injury.

''Lance, we don't know what's going to happen with him, and some other guys are battling injuries,'' Beltran said. ''But we as a team have to fight with what we have and right now we're doing a pretty good job.''

Will Venable hit his sixth career leadoff home run and also doubled and singled for the Padres.

San Diego was held to three or fewer runs for the seventh straight game and fell to a major league-worst 4-13 on the road.

Suppan (2-3) labored for 97 pitches in 4 2-3 innings, giving up five runs in his fifth start for San Diego.

The 37-year-old right-hander was the 2006 NL championship series MVP for the Cardinals and was the lone pitcher on that World Series title team to win a game in each round. The St. Louis fans hadn't forgotten, giving him a warm ovation with some standing as he left the mound.

''It was very nice, I was very grateful,'' Suppan said. ''I was still in the moment of my outing, so I wasn't able to take it all in.''

Suppan, who spent all last year in the minors, entered 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in four career starts in St. Louis as a member of the visiting team.

Matt Holliday singled to start the fifth ahead of Beltran's first homer in 10 days. Freese's ninth of the year made it 6-3 in the seventh.

''Sometimes you've just got to start over and get back to the basics and figure some things out,'' manager Mike Matheny said of Freese. ''It looked like it worked pretty good for him today.''

Lynn, in the rotation for injured Chris Carpenter, recovered from a three-run first. He went six innings and worked out of frequent trouble with the Padres stranding nine runners while he was on the mound.

''Well, he wiggled out of a few jams and we just couldn't get that big knock, that ball in the gap to really break his back,'' Padres manager Bud Black said. ''And Beltran really broke our back with that home run.''

Victor Marte and Marc Rzepczynski worked a scoreless inning apiece and Jason Motte finished for his eighth save in 11 chances.

Venable hit his third homer of the season on Lynn's second pitch. The first five Padres reached safely with Chase Headley's RBI single making it 2-0. Cameron Maybin was caught stealing for just the second time in 15 chances on a pitchout to hurt San Diego's shot at a bigger inning.

Jesus Guzman, San Diego's cleanup man with no homers, was hit by a pitch his first two times of the season in his first two at-bats.

Skip Schumaker had an RBI double and the Cardinals added RBI singles from Freese and Matt Adams to tie it in the bottom of the first. Suppan needed 54 pitches to get through two innings, escaping damage in the second after walking Schumaker and Holliday with two outs.

NOTES: Venable is a career .413 hitter (26 for 63) against the Cardinals with four RBIs. ... In 30 career starts in St. Louis, all but five for the Cardinals, Suppan is 11-5 with a 3.06 ERA. ... Headley returned after missing one game with a lower back injury. ... Eric Stults makes his second start for the Padres Thursday at New York against the Mets. The lefty allowed two runs in 6 2-3 innings against the Angels with no decision in his first start. ... Jake Westbrook was 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA in two starts last year against the Phillies, the team he faces on Thursday in St. Louis. ... Holliday is 9 for 16 against Suppan with three homers and six RBIs, although he was held to a single and walk in three trips.