Series: Game 3 of 3

St. Louis won 3-0

Game 1: Monday, July 1
San Diego 3Final
St. Louis 7
Game 2: Tuesday, July 2
San Diego 5Final
St. Louis 11
Game 3: Wednesday, July 3
San Diego 1Final
St. Louis 4

Padres 1

(34-51, 12-30 away)

Cardinals 4

(45-36, 28-15 home)

    8:10 PM ET, July 3, 2002

    Busch Stadium I, St. Louis, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    SD 010000000 1 - -
    STL 00020011 - 4 - -

    W: J. Simontacchi (7-1)

    L: B. Lawrence (7-5)

    S: J. Isringhausen (18)

    Cardinals continue recent success vs. Padres

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa hates to say he's ever surprised about a player. But in Jason Simontacchi's case, the word definitely applies.

    The 28-year-old rookie won for the third time in four starts and Tino Martinez hit a two-run home run as the Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres 4-1 to complete a three-game sweep Wednesday night.

    "I hate the word surprising because that makes you think you didn't have any confidence in the guy. He's been not just a pleasant surprise, a great surprise, a life-saving surprise for us.''

    The Cardinals are 17-1 against the Padres the last two seasons, and the latest victory gave them a two-game lead over the Reds in the NL Central. It was their fourth sweep of the year and their second straight over the Padres dating to Sept. 3-5, 2001, in San Diego.

    "Yeah, it's great you know,'' Simontacchi said. "Our team's on a roll, it's a big win and we swept the Padres. But at the same time we've got L.A. coming in and they're a darn good team, so it's good to keep rolling.''

    The Cardinals are 5-4 with four games to go on a 13-game homestand, the longest of their season, heading into a four-game series with the Dodgers.

    Brian Lawrence (7-5) allowed two runs in six innings and Ron Gant homered for the Padres, who were swept for the seventh time this season. Five of the sweeps have come on the road, where they're 12-30 overall and 1-7 during their present 11-game trip.

    "Yeah, this has been a real tough trip,'' said Ray Lankford, who injured his hamstring making a running catch in the sixth and will go on the disabled list Thursday. "Things aren't going real well for us right now.

    "We can't seem to catch a break.''

    Simontacchi (7-1), who never pitched as high as Triple-A until last year, allowed one run on five hits in 6 2-3 innings and lowered his ERA 18 points to 2.77. Named the NL rookie of the month earlier in the day, he struck out three and walked two.

    Simontacchi won with less than his best stuff, for the second straight start.

    "Anytime any pitcher can get outs, you've got to be satisfied,'' he said. "I did struggle a little bit, but I'm learning to deal with it.''

    Right fielder Eli Marrero helped Simontacchi exit the second, catching Wiki Gonzalez' fly ball and then throwing to the plate on a line to catch Lankford for the third out. Lankford was trying to score standing up.

    Steve Kline got Ramon Vasquez on a called third strike with two men on to end the seventh and Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his 18th save in 21 chances.

    Martinez hit his 10th homer in the fourth after Lawrence hit Albert Pujols with two outs and also doubled and scored for a 3-1 lead in the seventh, giving him eight hits in his last four starts and raising his average to .247. The Cardinals have hit eight homers the last two games and 13 the last five, all after going 41 innings without a long ball.

    Gant hit his seventh homer, and second in two days, leading off the second. He was 4-for-7 the last two games with four RBI. Pinch-hitter Kerry Robinson tripled off Trevor Hoffmann to start the eighth and stole home to make it 4-1. There was no play at the plate because Hoffmann's pitch to Placido Polanco, who was attempting a squeeze bunt, went to the screen.

    Game notes

    Manager Bruce Bochy said RHP Kevin Jarvis also will be placed on the DL Thursday with an elbow strain that's sidelined him twice previously. ... Lawrence is the only Padres pitcher to beat the Cardinals in the 21st century, beating them 5-2 Aug. 28, 2001 at Busch Stadium. ... Lawrence is 0-2 his last four starts with a 5.70 ERA. ... The Cardinals are 28-15 at home, 17-21 on the road.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press