(BaseballStL) -- On St. Louis’ hottest day of the year, it was Jake Westbrook’s bat that might have been the most scorching in a 9-6 win over the San Diego Padres on Friday.
Westbrook, who was shaky at times on the mound, became an offensive threat at the plate going 3-for-3, including two singles and a double, with a RBI off opposing starter Jason Marquis.
“He got it going a little bit different than we’ve seen him,” Mike Matheny said. “He had given up a lot of fly balls in the first couple. The third inning he seemed to turn it around, he had three ground balls and really got into a good groove. The hits -- we’ll always take them.”
Westbrook, who needed 63 pitches to get through the first four innings, helped himself with a single up the middle to lead off the third inning. He advanced to second on a five-pitch walk to Matt Carpenter and then to third base on a sacrifice bunt from Jon Jay. He scored his first of two runs on a sacrifice fly hit by Carlos Beltran to center field to score the first run of the game.
He followed the plate appearance with a double over the head of Padres right fielder Will Venable in the fifth inning. Carpenter followed it with a double of his own to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead.
Westbrook, who had thrown 74 pitches at the time, came up to bat again in the sixth inning. This time with the bases loaded. In the first pitch of the at-bat, and the final one thrown by Marquis, Westbrook sent the 87-mph sinker to center field to score the first run in the three-run inning.
“It was a fun ballgame and I had a lot of fun out there,” Westbrook said. “It was the first time I ran the bases that much since high school. It was a good win for us.”
Matheny believes reaching base might have doomed Westbrook, who was left stranded on base suffering through the heat and humidity, in the seventh inning.
“I never underestimate that. I do think that’s valid,” Matheny said. “Before he went out for the seventh I told him to sit and take some time, but he was antsy to get back out there.
“It’s going to take a while for all these guys. They have a routine, but it needs to be a different routine when it gets this hot. They’re going to be sweating and they’ve got to figure out a way to keep their hand dry and they’ve got to figure out a way to stop sweating. When you’re on the bases it’s something you’re not accustomed to.”
The seventh inning spelled the end of the game for Westbrook after he allowed two runs with only one out in the inning. Seth Maness bailed him out with his 10th double play induced this season, which is tops amongst NL relievers.
“I mean I was tired, but I wasn’t any more tired than if I went 0-for-3 and struck out three times,” Westbrook said. “I would have liked to have ended it a little better than it did. It wasn’t one of my better ballgames pitching-wise.”
It marked the second time this season a Cardinals pitcher registered three hits in a game. Adam Wainwright delivered the other one on April 13 against the Milwaukee Brewers. It was 43 years ago to the day that a Cardinals pitcher had four base hits in one game (Mike Torrez).
Westbrook’s final line read: 6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO
But most importantly, he and the Cardinals got the win.