SAN DIEGO (AP) — Clayton Richard pitched seven strong innings and rookie Yasmani Grandal singled home the go-ahead run to lift the San Diego Padres over the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 on Wednesday, handing the slumping World Series champions their 11th loss in 15 games.
The Cardinals began the day with a one-game lead over Los Angeles for the second NL wild-card berth. The Dodgers, who played later at Arizona, host St. Louis in a crucial four-game series starting Thursday night.
St. Louis put a runner on third with one out in the ninth but was unable to score. World Series MVP David Freese and pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker both grounded out.
Logan Forsythe hit a solo home run for the Padres, who completed a three-game sweep of St. Louis for the first time since August 1995.
San Diego has an NL-best 17-5 record since Aug. 19 and has taken 21 of its last 27 games at home.
Richard (13-12) outpitched Kyle Lohse and gave up only three hits, including a two-run homer by Matt Carpenter that tied the game at 2 in the sixth. The left-hander struck out five, walked one and hit a batter with a pitch.
Luke Gregerson pitched the ninth for his seventh save, working around a leadoff double by Allen Craig. After pinch-runner Adron Chambers was sacrificed to third, Gregerson got Freese on a grounder to third before walking pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran. Gregerson then retired Schumaker on an easy grounder to first base to end the game.
Lohse (14-3) had his eight-game winning streak snapped as he allowed three runs — two earned — on five hits over six innings. He struck out eight.
Lohse's streak spanned 13 starts back to June 26.
Forsythe connected with two outs in the second to give San Diego a 1-0 lead. In his last 13 games, Forsythe has 11 RBIs and 11 runs while raising his batting average 29 points to .289.
Carpenter's error in right field cost the Cardinals a run in the fifth. Yonder Alonso singled and went to third on Cameron Maybin's one-out double into the right-field corner. But when Carpenter overran the ball, Alonso was able to score.
Carpenter homered immediately after Jon Jay's leadoff single in the sixth, but San Diego went ahead in the bottom half on Chase Headley's two-out double and Grandal's run-scoring single.
NOTES: Beltran is in a 3-for-26 slump with one extra-base hit in his last 61 at-bats. ... Padres LF Carlos Quentin, who left Monday night's game with a sore right knee, was held out of the lineup for the second straight game. ... St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said LHP Jaime Garcia is still set to pitch Saturday night at Dodger Stadium despite a 2-6 record with an ERA of 6.19 in nine road starts. ... St. Louis opens a four-game series at Los Angeles on Thursday night with RHP Lance Lynn (14-7, 4.04 ERA) facing Dodgers RHP Josh Beckett (1-2, 3.86). ... San Diego is off Thursday before hosting Colorado for three games, starting Friday night with Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (4-4, 5.32) opposing Padres RHP Andrew Cashner (3-3, 3.46).
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.