Series: Game 1 of 3

San Diego leads 1-0 (as of 9/6)

Game 1: Monday, September 6
St. Louis3Final
San Diego7
Game 2: Tuesday, September 7
St. Louis4Final
San Diego2
Game 3: Wednesday, September 8
St. Louis5Final
San Diego10

Cardinals 3

(92-45, 44-22 away)

Padres 7

(73-64, 35-35 home)

    10:05 PM ET, September 6, 2004

    Petco Park, San Diego, California 

    123456789 R H E
    STL 020001000 3 9 2
    SD 00003004 - 7 9 0

    W: S. Linebrink (7-1)

    L: C. Eldred (3-1)

    S: T. Hoffman (35)

    Klesko drives in winning run vs. Cards

    SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The San Diego Padres kept alive their slim playoff hopes with a rare win against baseball's best team.

    Ryan Klesko singled in the go-ahead run with none out in the eighth inning and the Padres beat St. Louis 7-3 Monday night, ending the Cardinals' nine-game winning streak.

    "We know we can beat anybody when we're playing well," Klesko said. "We've just got to get back to playing like we were tonight."

    The Padres won for just the second time in seven games, a stretch that included three losses at St. Louis last week. San Diego remained 2½ games behind the Chicago Cubs in the tight wild-card race, with San Francisco and Houston also ahead of the Padres.

    The Cardinals lead the Cubs by 16½ games in the NL Central.

    The Padres are trying for their first postseason berth since 1998, when they made it to the World Series before being swept by the New York Yankees. They beat the Cardinals for just the seventh time in 40 games since the start of the 1999 season.

    With the score tied at 3 and the bases loaded in the eighth, Klesko hit a chopper over the head of first baseman Albert Pujols to score Ramon Vazquez, who started for the second straight game in place of injured second baseman Mark Loretta.

    The Padres quickly blew it open against reliever Cal Eldred. Khalil Greene followed with a sacrifice fly, Terrence Long had a pinch-hit RBI single and another run scored on the play on a throwing error by Pujols.

    "We can't afford to have the Cardinals come in and sweep us," Klesko said. "We need to get our confidence back. This is a big boost to go out there and beat a team that swept the Dodgers, and us before that, and one of their best pitchers.

    "We've got to go out and do it again tomorrow, and the next day and the next day."

    Vazquez started the winning rally with his third hit, a leadoff single to left off Eldred (3-1), who relieved Chris Carpenter to start the inning. Brian Giles singled to center, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch to Phil Nevin, who walked to load the bases.

    Reliever Scott Linebrink (7-1) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the win.

    Trevor Hoffman came on in the ninth with runners on first and third and none out but retired the side to record his 35th save in 39 opportunities.

    Giles hit a two-run double off Carpenter to highlight the three-run fifth and give the Padres a 3-2 lead.

    All three runs were unearned after third baseman Scott Rolen's two-base throwing error on Ramon Hernandez's one-out grounder. Hernandez took third on a wild pitch and, after Sean Burroughs was hit by a pitch, scored on Vazquez's single to right. Giles then doubled into the gap in right-center.

    "Scott made a rare error," manager Tony La Russa said. "But they got two-out hits by Vazquez and Giles, so I give them credit."

    Said Carpenter: "I have to get out of that inning. If I can make a pitch and get out of it, it's a different ballgame."

    The Cardinals tied it at 3 on Edgar Renteria's single in the sixth. The Cardinals had taken a 2-0 lead in the second on RBI singles by Renteria and Mike Matheny, off Adam Eaton.

    Eaton allowed two baserunners with two outs in the seventh and made way for Linebrink, who got Pujols to ground out.

    Carpenter, trying for his 15th win, left after seven innings with the score tied at 3. He allowed no earned runs on five hits, struck out five and walked none.

    Eaton allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out four and walked four.

    Game notes

    Cardinals RF Larry Walker is expected to miss all of this series because of his sprained right knee. The Cardinals are off Thursday, and Walker might return on Friday at Los Angeles. Roger Cedeno started in right against San Diego on Monday night. ... In their first season at Petco Park, the Padres set a single-season attendance record of 2,586,102. The old record was 2,555,901 in their World Series season of 1998. ... Carpenter had a 0.64 ERA in two starts against San Diego this season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press