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

SAN DIEGO (AFP) San Diego Padres coach Bob Melvin was nervous about Blake Snell’s seventh inning hit count when Albert Pujols helped the captain avoid what would have been an unpopular decision.

Snell kept St. Louis injury-free until the Pujols overcame the turn-over for seventh and the San Diego Padres beat the Cardinals N.L. Central’s flagship 1-0 on Wednesday night.

Snell (8-9) allowed two hits in seven innings on 117 shootouts and 13 hits to equal his senior career. The brilliant left-handed effort led the Padres to their fifth win in a row and extended the goal-free spin streak to 27 2/3 innings.

“I don’t want to say I’m glad someone took a hit, but I wouldn’t let them throw 135 throws this time of year and that’s probably what it would have taken,” Melvin said.

“You want a guy to be able to try and get a number that doesn’t hit but wise he wouldn’t be able to at that point,” Melvin said. “There was a second hit and now you have the first two and suddenly a key hit can tie the match. Look, everyone was pushing Blake to do great things. I just don’t know he had the pitches to do that already.”

Snell said he was more excited about hitting 99 mph and wanted to speak to mitigator Adrian Morragon, a very left-handed thrower.

“In the sixth inning, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I got a ban,’ but I was really excited about 99,” Snell said. “The ball felt really good tonight. It was just coming out.

“Morrigon is always talking about how he got all that phyllo, and I finally hit 99 in front of him, so I’m exuberant,” said the leftist. “I was really impressed with 99. Really pumped. Whatever happened, it was the highlight.”

Snell, winner of the 2018 AL Cy Young Award while with Tampa Bay, said this performance “was there” among his best. “It was a good idea. But we will continue to try to outdo it.”

The Padres disqualified the Cardinal in the first two games of the three-game series, leaving Pujols at 698 professional players.

San Diego stayed one and a half games ahead of Philadelphia in second place in the Premier League.

Left Snell closed the Pujols and Cardinals in seventh, retiring twice and only issuing two runs. But with the Padres turning Pujols right-handed, the 42-year-old drove a ball across the wide-open right side of the field for an easy hit on the field 3-1, Snell’s No. 107.

“He’s a good hitter,” Snell said.

He added, “I thought if I got in fast there I might have gone in eighth. Who knows. It’s just tough. 13 strokes, as if it would be really tough going nine without throwing like 140, 150 (throws).”

Juan Yepez followed him up with a single before Snell hit Paul Dejong for 13th.

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

Padres took a 1-0 lead when Austin Nola scored at Kim Ha Seung by two seconds against Miles Mikulas. Josh Bell was sent off earlier in the inning for trying to score on vaults to shortstop.

Mikulas (11-13) allowed unearned runs in three hits in six innings, hit six and walked twice.

Soto lanes

San Diego’s Juan Soto moved up eighth, becoming the first player since 1906 to walk 500 times before he turned 24.

next one

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

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