It took 11 innings, but the Cardinals were able to keep their hot streak alive with a 3-2 win over San Diego.
Daniel Descalso came through again with a runner at second base and two out in the 11th to drive home the winning run. And Eduardo Sanchez got the 1-2-3 save to push the Redbirds to 10 games over .500 for the first time this season.
The Cardinals struck first when Jon Jay doubled and then scored on an infield hit with two outs in the opening frame.
But the lead didn't last long. With two outs starting pitcher Kyle McClellan coexed a ground ball to shortstop that Ryan Theriot fielded cleanly but then made a bad throw to first baseman Albert Pujols. The next hitter, former Cardinals outfielder Ryan Ludwick, cranked a homer over the centerfield wall to give San Diego a 2-1 lead.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The Redbirds had a chance to score in the top of the sixth inning when Pujols started the frame with a single. But, before the Cardinals could capitalize, Pujols tried to go to second on a ball that trickled a few feet from the San Diego catcher and was thrown out.
In the seventh, rookie catcher Tony Cruz, who made his major league debut Tuesday, ripped a ball into the right field corner for a leadoff double. He was bunted to third by Daniel Descalso who beat the throw to first base to give St. Louis runners at the corners with no outs. Pinch hitter Colby Rasmus hit a ball hard -- but right to first baseman Brad Hawpe. Cruz got caught in a rundown but the remaining baserunners ended up at second and third with one out.
Theriot quickly found himself with two strikes. But he managed to ground a ball to second to tie the game. Jay worked a full count with the go-ahead run on third and smoked a ball to the right of Hawpe. But the San Diego first sacker laid out to catch the ball and end the threat.
Lance Berkman grounded a ball through reliever Chad Qualls' legs with one out in the eighth and then Allen Craig signaled past third base. But Skip Schumaker joined the Cardinals double play parade with an easy ball hit right to shortstop.
McClellan had a very sharp break on his curve Tuesday night. He was pulled for a pinch hitter after six in a one run game. But he only allowed two hits during his stay on the mound and both of the runs against him were unearned.
In the 10th inning Miguel Batista walked the Padres leadoff batter. The baserunner went to second on a bunt. After an intentional walk to set up the double play, Batista was able to serve one up by getting Jorge Cantu to ground to shortstop.
It would have been a tough loss to swallow if the Cardinals weren't able to pull this one out. They outhit San Diego 11-2 in the contest and stranded nine runners to three by San Diego.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Daniel Descalso was one of two Cardinals to collect three hits in the game -- Tony Cruz was the other in his MLB debut. As is his tendency, he came though with two outs in the 11th and drove in the go ahead run.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Descalso's go ahead hit.
Lowlight: Skip Schumaker was 0-for-5