Snell brilliant for 7, Padres beat Pujols, Cardinals 1-0

Sep 21, 2022, 9:46 AM | Updated: 10:40 pm
San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell, right, looks to the catcher after giving up his firs...

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell, right, looks to the catcher after giving up his first hit of the night, a single to St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols, left, during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin was getting nervous about Blake Snell’s pitch count in the seventh inning when Albert Pujols helped the skipper avoid what could have been an unpopular decision.

Snell held St. Louis hitless until Pujols beat the shift for a single with two outs in the seventh and the San Diego Padres beat the NL Central-leading Cardinals 1-0 on Wednesday night.

Snell (8-9) allowed two hits in seven innings on 117 pitches and struck out 13 to tie his career high. The left-hander’s brilliant effort carried the Padres to their fifth straight win and extended the rotation’s scoreless streak to 27 2/3 innings.

“I don’t want to say I’m glad somebody got a hit but I’m not going to let him throw 135 pitches this time of year and that’s probably what it would have taken to get through it,” Melvin said.

“You want a guy to be able to try to get a no-hitter but pitch-count wise he just wasn’t going to be able to make it at that point,” Melvin said. “There was a second hit and now you’ve got first and second and all of a sudden a base hit can tie the game. Look, everybody was pulling for Blake to do great things. I just don’t know that he would have had the pitches to actually do it.”

Snell said he was more excited about hitting 99 mph and wanted to talk to reliever Adrian Morejon, a hard-throwing lefty.

“In the sixth inning I was like, ‘Oh wow I’ve got a no-no going’ but I was so hyped up about 99,” Snell said. “The ball just felt really good tonight. It was just coming out.

“Morejon always talks about how he has all this velo and I finally hit 99 in front of him so I’m pumped,” the lefty said. “I was really pumped about the 99. Really pumped. Whatever happened, that was the highlight.”

Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner while with Tampa Bay, said this performance “was up there” among his best games. “It was good one. But we’ll continue to try to top it.”

The Padres have shut out the Cardinals in the first two games of the three-game series, keeping Pujols at 698 career homers.

San Diego stayed 1 1/2 games ahead of Philadelphia for the NL’s second wild-card spot.

The left-handed Snell had shut down Pujols and the Cardinals into the seventh, retiring the slugger twice and issuing just two walks. But with the Padres shifting the right-handed Pujols, the 42-year-old slugger drove a ball through the wide-open right side of the infield for an easy hit on a 3-1 pitch, Snell’s 107th of the game.

“He’s a good hitter,” Snell said.

“I thought if I got a quick inning there I might have gotten into the eighth,” he added. “Who knows. It’s just tough; 13 strikeouts, like it’s going to be really tough going nine without throwing like 140, 150 (pitches).”

Juan Yepez followed with a single before Snell struck out Paul DeJong for No. 13.

Josh Hader pitched a perfect ninth for his 34th save.

The Padres took a 1-0 lead when Austin Nola singled in Kim Ha-seong with two outs in the second against Miles Mikolas. Josh Bell was thrown out earlier in the inning trying to score on a grounder to shortstop.

Mikolas (11-13) allowed an unearned run on three hits in six innings, struck out six and walked two.

SOTO’S WALKS

San Diego’s Juan Soto walked leading off the eighth, becoming the first player since 1906 to walk 500 times before turning 24.

UP NEXT

Cardinals RHP Jack Flaherty (0-1, 5.09 ERA) and Padres RHP Joe Musgrove (10-7, 3.16) are scheduled to start in the series finale Thursday afternoon.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

San Diego Padres relief pitcher Nick Martinez reacts during the sixth inning of the tema's baseball...
Associated Press

Padres beat Dodgers 4-3 in 10 to reduce magic number to 4

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jorge Alfaro drew a bases-loaded walk from Craig Kimbrel with two outs in the 10th inning and the San Diego Padres beat the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 on Tuesday night to reduce their magic number for clinching a wild-card berth to four. The Padres started the winning rally […]
24 hours ago
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Robbie Raywals walks through the dugout after he was pulled from ...
Associated Press

Mariners’ late slide continues with 5-0 loss to Rangers

SEATTLE (AP) — Robbie Ray has an idea for how to get the Seattle Mariners refocused and hopefully out of their late-season slide. Stop worrying about what is happening elsewhere. “For me, we’ve just got to stop looking at the scoreboard. If it was my choice, we turn that thing off. Because we need to […]
24 hours ago
Los Angeles Angels' Matt Duffy (5) scores ahead of a throw to Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy...
Associated Press

Jo Adell’s 8th-inning RBI sends Angels past Athletics, 4-3

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Jo Adell drove in Matt Duffy with a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning, Shohei Ohtani extended his hitting streak to a career-best 12 games, and the Los Angeles Angels opened their final homestand of the season with a 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night. A.J. Puk […]
24 hours ago
San Francisco Giants' Logan Webb pitches to a Colorado Rockies batter during the first inning of a ...
Associated Press

Logan Webb strikes out seven as Giants beat Rockies again

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Joc Pederson won a World Series championship last season with the Atlanta Braves and expected to compete for one this season in San Francisco, only to be out of it in September instead. Logan Webb struck out seven over five innings to win for the fourth time in five starts, and […]
24 hours ago
Houston Astros third base coach Gary Pettis (8) low fives Jose Altuve, right, as he rounds third ba...
Associated Press

Altuve homers twice as Astros rout Diamondbacks 10-2

HOUSTON (AP) — Jose Altuve hit two of Houston’s five home runs to lead the Astros to a 10-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night in a game where Yordan Alvarez left with an ankle injury. The Astros, who have already won the American League West title, moved within one win or one […]
24 hours ago
Argentina soccer coach Lionel Scaloni, left, talks to his staff as his players warm up during pract...
Associated Press

Scaloni to remain as Argentina coach through 2026 World Cup

HARRISON, N,J. (AP) — Lionel Scaloni will remain as Argentina’s national team coach through the 2026 World Cup. Chiqui Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association, made the announcement after Tuesday night’s 3-0 win over Jamaica in the Albiceleste’s next-to-last tuneup match for this year’s World Cup. “We continue to bet on the comprehensive national […]
24 hours ago
Snell brilliant for 7, Padres beat Pujols, Cardinals 1-0