Will Venable belted a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the 11th inning to boost the San Diego Padres to a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals to open a four-game series.
The Padres challenged a foul ball call with two outs in the 11th and the replay went in favor of the visitors. Clint Barmes hit a ball tight to the line, where right fielder Jason Heyward made a sliding catch attempt. Upon review, the call was reversed to a ground-rule double. On the next pitch, Venable, who came into the game hitting .359 in his career at Busch Stadium, homered off Carlos Villanueva (3-3) to right-center field.
“He’s not the best pinch-hitter if you look at the numbers, but Will is such a team guy. It’s a beautiful way to help his team,” Padres interim manager Pat Murphy said.
Craig Kimbrel allowed a leadoff single to Kolten Wong in the bottom of the 11th, but then retired the next three hitters to record his 20th save and send the Cardinals to their third straight home loss.
Padres starting pitcher Tyson Ross hit a solo homer. Yangervis Solarte belted a solo shot for the Padres, but was ejected for arguing a strikeout on a checked swing in the sixth inning.
Tim Cooney pitched six innings for the Cardinals, who went 1-for-13 with men in scoring position and stranded 13 base runners. Cooney, who was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to make his second major league start, allowed four hits and three runs — two earned — with a pair of walks and six strikeouts.
“Tim gave us a chance, made pitches when he had to. His secondary stuff was really good,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Ross also lasted six frames and gave up four hits, three runs, five walks and had compiled six strikeouts.
The Cardinals scored just once after loading the bases with one out in the first inning, as Matt Carpenter crossed the plate on Yadier Molina’s groundout.
Solarte went deep to left in the second and the Padres tacked on single runs in the fourth and fifth. Austin Hedges had an RBI single in the fourth, and Ross homered on a 2-2 pitch to right field for his first career round-tripper.
Cooney doubled to open the fifth and scored on Carpenter’s bloop single to center. The Cardinals tied it later in the inning when Heyward sliced an RBI double down the left-field line.
The Cardinals wasted a chance with runners at the corners in the eighth, and the Padres did the same in the ninth when Trevor Rosenthal fanned Melvin Upton Jr. to end the inning.
In the ninth, Padres first baseman Derek Norris made a diving stop in the hole between first and second to prevent the winning run. Norris flipped the ball to Shawn Kelley (1-2) for the second out, and Randal Grichuk struck out swinging to end the inning.