ST. LOUIS (AP) — June is shaping up as a good month for St. Louis first baseman Jose Martinez.
Martinez and Marcell Ozuna hit two-run homers, rookie Jack Flaherty pitched into the seventh inning, and the Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres 5-2 on Monday night.
Martinez has five homers over his last five games. He had his NL-leading 10th three-hit game of the season and has reached base safely in each of his last 11 games.
“When those moments come to you, it’s great,” said Martinez, who is hitting .531 in his last nine games. “Everything feels right at the plate. You have to ride with it, you know.
“Baseball is full of ups and downs. I’m hot right now.”
Jedd Gyorko added a one-out home run in the eighth.
The Cardinals have won 13 of their last 18 games against the Padres, who have dropped 46 of their last 62 games in St. Louis.
Flaherty (3-2) pitched 6 1/3 innings, his second-longest outing this season. He allowed one run and three hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
“He works hard all the time,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “He was great. He did a nice job. He mixed up speeds on everything. He got on base a couple of times and ran hard. He was working on one of our most humid nights so far.
“This was a test in many ways. We needed a solid start and he answered. He was very good today.”
It was a bounce-back effort for Flaherty, who took an 11-3 loss in his previous start against Miami. Flaherty, 22, has pitched five or more innings in all eight starts this season.
Flaherty retired 14 consecutive batters before issuing a one-walk in the seventh. John Brebbia relieved and walked the bases loaded before getting two strikeouts to end the threat.
“I was throwing with more conviction tonight,” Flaherty said. “Last time out, I said I didn’t really execute well. I was throwing everything with intent. I was using conviction with every single pitch. I was just going out and trying to attack.”
San Diego manager Andy Green was impressed with Flaherty.
“He had a good mix. A live fastball. They should be really excited about him,” Green said. “I know they are. He’s got a good slider whenever he wants to go to it. It’s hard to sit on a particular pitch. He located well. He beat a lot of our guys.”
Bud Norris earned his 13th save in 15 chances.
Jordan Lyles (2-3) gave up 11 hits and four runs in six innings.
St. Louis went ahead 2-1 in the third when Martinez homered into the right-field bleachers after Tommy Pham led off with a single.
After Martinez singled for his third hit in the fifth, Ozuna followed with a drive into the left-field bleachers on an 0-2 breaking pitch left over the plate, giving the Cardinals a 4-1 advantage. It was Ozuna’s fourth homer in his last nine games.
“The two home run balls, pitches I want back,” Lyles said. “Two good hitters, balls over the plate but other than that, there were just so many hits scattered throughout. A lot of balls hit hard, some weren’t but one though nine, they’ve got a good lineup. That was a battle to get through that lineup a few times.”
Cory Spangeberg hit a line-drive homer into the right-field seats with one out in the second, giving San Diego a 1-0 lead.
The Padres added a run in the eighth when Travis Jankowski hit a ground-rule double, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a ground out.
The Cardinals signed first-round draft pick (19th overall) Nolan Gorman, of Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix. After Gorman, 18, signed at Busch Stadium, he worked out with the club and took batting practice. The left-handed hitting third baseman will forgo the University of Arizona to play at Johnson City, the Cardinals’ rookie level affiliate in the Appalachian League.
Padres: C Austin Hedges (right elbow tendinitis) has been out since May 1. He took batting practice Monday at Class A Lake Elsinore, where he will begin his rehab assignment Tuesday.
Cardinals: SS Paul DeJong (left hand fracture) will be looked at by a doctor Thursday, Cardinals president John Mozeliak said. The Cardinals expect DeJong back at the end of June. Mozeliak said the Cardinals are hopeful to get RHP Greg Holland (right hip impingement) and RHP Matt Bowman (right hand finger blisters) back later this week.
Padres: LHP Matt Strahm (1-2, 3.07) is projected to be the starter. In his two previous starts this season, Strahm did not earn a decision, going two innings in one game and 2 1/3 in the other.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (7-1, 2.27) pitched 6 2/3 innings in a 2-1 win over his former team on May 10 in San Diego. He allowed one unearned run over seven innings in his last start against Miami. He is one of just three NL pitchers who to issue fewer walks (nine) than games started this season.