SAN DIEGO -- Jason Marquis took a few innings to find his groove. After he did, the right-hander and the San Diego bullpen shut down the St. Louis Cardinals.
Marquis threw six sharp innings, and the Padres earned a 4-2 victory over the Cardinals at Petco Park on Monday night.
Working past some shaky moments in the second and third innings, Marquis led the Padres (21-23) to their third victory in a row and their 12th in the last 15 games at Petco.
"I felt like I had a lot of my pitches working tonight," said Marquis, who tied a career best by winning five consecutive starts, a feat he hadn't accomplished since 2007, when he pitched for the Cubs. "My defense made some great plays behind me. The second inning, I thought I made some quality pitches, but I put myself in a jam, and I had to make a pitch to get out of it. From then on, I felt pretty good."
Marquis (6-2) allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and four walks as the Padres handed the Cardinals (28-16) only their fifth loss in the past 19 games. Marquis, who struck out three, also has a 6-2 record against the Cardinals, his former club.
"He's a guy who continues to make pitches when he needs to," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I've talked about it before, but he knows how to navigate his way through a major league game."
With the Padres holding a 1-0 lead after an RBI single by Chase Headley in the first, Marquis ran into trouble in the second when the Cardinals loaded the bases with two outs. St. Louis tied the score when Headley, a Gold Glove winner last season, bobbled a grounder by pitcher Shelby Miller, allowing Yadier Molina to score with two outs. However, Marquis struck out Matt Carpenter to end the threat.
In the third, the Cardinals got a leadoff double by Carlos Beltran and a single by Matt Holliday, putting runners at first and third with no outs. Beltran scored when Allen Craig grounded into a double play, giving St. Louis a 2-1 lead. But Marquis retired Molina on a grounder to end the inning, and he didn't allow another run. He got help from relievers Dale Thayer, Joe Thatcher, Luke Gregerson and Huston Street, who allowed just one hit between them over three innings.
Street retired the side in order in the ninth for his 11th save.
The Padres rallied from a 2-1 deficit by scoring two runs with two outs in the sixth. Chris Denorfia singled to center to bring home Carlos Quentin, tying the score. San Diego took a 3-2 lead when St. Louis reliever Fernando Salas hit pinch hitter Jesus Guzman with a pitch, scoring Jedd Gyorko. Guzman was batting for Marquis.
Miller, who entered the game tied with Clayton Kershaw for the National League lead with a 1.40 ERA, gave up three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings. Miller (5-3) struck out five and walked three, but he said throwing too many pitches per inning cost him.
"It seems like 20 pitches every single inning every single outing, back-to-back starts," Miller said. "Throwing so many pitches in back-to-back games is not good. It accumulates with a little bit of everything. My curveball wasn't really good tonight. Neither was my changeup. My fastball was really there, but multiple things were off."
The Padres padded their lead after Miller exited.
Will Venable led off the seventh by driving an 0-1 pitch into the seats in right off reliever Mitchell Boggs, who had just returned from a demotion to Triple-A Memphis. Venable's club-leading seventh home run provided San Diego's final run.
"I couldn't tell you. This is really not typical of my career here," Venable said when asked about his power surge at Petco, where he has launched six home runs after hitting only two in 197 at-bats last year. "A lot more of my damage comes on the road. It's just how it's kind of worked out so far."
NOTES: A moment of silence was held before the game for tornado victims in Oklahoma and Texas. ... Cardinals 3B David Freese was a late scratch due to an injury to his right hand. Freese received stitches after getting cut by the cleats of Milwaukee's Norichika Aoki during a rundown in Sunday's game. Freese was available to play Monday, if needed, the Cardinals said. Ty Wigginton replaced Freese in the starting lineup, and he went 0-for-2 with a walk. ... Padres SS Everth Cabrera, who began the night leading the majors with 18 stolen bases, recorded steals in five consecutive games before coming up empty Monday. ... The Padres have 21 home runs in 23 games at Petco Park, three of them coming in Sunday's rout of the Washington Nationals. They didn't hit their 20th Petco home run last year until July 20 in their 49th home game. ... The game drew a paid crowd of 18,763.