Two seasons ago, while Carlos Martinez emerged as a top young pitcher for St. Louis, Luis Perdomo showed promise in the lower rungs of the Cardinals’ farm system. Like Martinez, he was selected to a prestigious exhibition, but appearing in the All-Star Futures Game does not guarantee major league success.
Perdomo still has much to prove, certainly more than his former organization-mate, but for a night, he virtually matched Martinez. Making his Busch Stadium debut far sooner than the Cardinals had once anticipated, the Padres right-hander threw six innings of two-run ball Thursday in a 4-3, rubber-match victory.
“He’s someone I’ve known since I signed in 2010,” Perdomo said of Martinez. “It was good to go out there and compete against him, it was good to face him, and I think both of us gave it our best.”
San Diego’s offense, which had failed to take full advantage of earlier opportunities, churned around the bases in the ninth, breaking a 2-2 tie. The visiting starter received a no-decision, but his evening qualified as a success.
Perdomo, who was acquired two Decembers ago as a Rule 5 draftee, completed at least six innings for the seventh time in as many starts — a measure of consistency in what has been an uneven season. Only once has the 25-year-old completed seven innings. His ERA is 4.84.
“For me, the consistency’s a big deal,” Perdomo said. “Every time I’m going out there, I’m trying to go more than five innings.”
The potential remains evident. Largely because of his preferred result — groundouts rather than strikeouts — Perdomo was more efficient than Martinez, who allowed two runs over seven innings. Perdomo threw 78 pitches, 54 for strikes. He induced double plays in the first and third innings.
“He was an excellent find by our scouts, a guy out of A-ball who took some lumps when he showed up to the big leagues,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “But every person watching the game can see he’s a legit major league starter. He’s getting better and better as the days go by.”
The Cardinals recorded seven hits and two walks against Perdomo. Both runs off him came with two outs.
In the fourth, Jedd Gyorko continued to torment his former team, this time with an RBI double. The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead.
With St. Louis trailing by a run in the sixth, Yadier Molina singled to tie the score.
Perdomo then walked Gyorko before getting a groundout to escape the inning. Late-start effectiveness remains a challenge; entering the game, he had allowed an .864 on-base-plus-slugging percentage when facing batters for a third time.
“He could’ve potentially gone deeper than that, but we thought he had done enough,” Green said. “His sixth inning was a little bit of a labor. But outside of that, it was two hanging sliders that they did damage on. I thought it was as good as he’s thrown.”
Meanwhile, familiar habits continued to hamper the Padres’ offense. Before the ninth, they went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. After loading the bases with no outs in the sixth, they eked out two runs thanks to an error by Martinez and an infield single by Matt Szczur.
The score remained tied because of the Padres’ bullpen. Craig Stammen threw a scoreless inning, then yielded consecutive hits in the eighth. Kirby Yates came on to induce a double play and strike out Gyorko.
In the top of the ninth, the Padres were both precise and opportunistic. Jabari Blash led off with a single and took third on Manuel Margot’s single, even as Margot took second on the throw. A third consecutive single, by Carlos Asuaje, gave the Padres the lead. Jose Pirela added insurance with a sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the ninth, Brad Hand surrendered a leadoff homer to Randal Grichuk. Hand retired the next three batters to secure the Padres’ first series victory here since 2011.
“Our club’s remained resilient all year,” Green said. “(Wednesday) was a sloppy, ugly game for us. There’s plenty of times where you’re facing an ace on the mound the next day, Carlos Martinez, it slips away from you, and you walk away with one out of three. It was good for a young group of guys to do what they’ve done all year, which is flush a bad game and show up to play the next day.”
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