San Diego starter Blake Snell on Wednesday held St Louis hitless until Albert Pujols beat the shift for a single with two outs in the seventh inning as the Padres beat the National League Central-leading Cardinals 1-0.
Padres manager Bob Melvin was getting nervous about Snell’s pitch count in the seventh, when Pujols helped the skipper avoid what could have been an unpopular decision to pull him while on a no-hitter.
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.
“I don’t want to say I’m glad somebody got a hit, but I’m not going to let him throw 135 pitches this time of year and that’s probably what it would have taken to get through it,” Melvin said. “You want a guy to be able to try to get a no-hitter, but pitch-count wise he just wasn’t going to be able to make it at that point.”
“There was a second hit, and now you’ve got first and second, and all of a sudden a base hit can tie the game,” Melvin said. “Look, everybody was pulling for Blake to do great things. I just don’t know that he would have had the pitches to actually do it.”
Snell said that he was more excited about hitting 99mph [159.3kph] and wanted to talk to reliever Adrian Morejon, a hard-throwing lefty.
Photo: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY
“In the sixth inning I was like: ‘Oh wow, I’ve got a no-no going,’ but I was so hyped up about 99,” Snell said. “The ball just felt really good tonight. It was just coming out.”
“Morejon always talks about how he has all this velo[city] and I finally hit 99 in front of him, so I’m pumped,” he said. “I was really pumped about the 99. Really pumped. Whatever happened, that was the highlight.”
Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner while with the Tampa Bay Rays, said that his performance on Wednesday “was up there” among his best performances.
“It was good one, but we’ll continue to try to top it,” he said.
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 1.5 games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies for the NL’s second wild-card spot.
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.
In other games, it was:
‧ Yankees 14, Pirates 2
‧ Rays 2, Astros 5
‧ Dodgers 1, Diamondbacks 6
‧ Marlins 3, Cubs 4
‧ Braves 2, Nationals 3
‧ Orioles 8, Tigers 1
‧ Brewers 6, Mets 0
‧ Phillies 4, Blue Jays 3 (10i)
‧ Royals 5, Twins 2
‧ Reds 5, Red Sox 1
‧ Rangers 7, Angels 2
‧ White Sox 2, Guardians 8
‧ Athletics 2, Mariners 1
‧ Rockies 1, Giants 6
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