SAN DIEGO (AP) — Blake Snell held St. Louis hitless until Albert Pujols beat the shift for a single with two outs in the seventh inning 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.
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.
Juan Yepez followed with a single before Snell struck out Paul DeJong to tie his career-high of 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.
San Diego’s Juan Soto walked leading off the eighth, becoming the first player since 1906 to walk 500 times before turning 24.
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.
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