Streaking Padres

After a rough night against a struggling offense, San Diego's pitching staff returned to form on Tuesday.

Now, the Padres (61-51) are hoping Greg Maddux can give them another strong outing as they continue a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals (51-59) at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals collected 15 hits off the Padres in Monday's 10-5 win, including 10 straight hits in the fifth inning to tie a major league record.

However, San Diego's staff, which leads the majors with a 3.50 ERA, recorded its major league-leading 16th shutout of the season on Tuesday, a 4-0 victory. Starter Jake Peavy, who ranks second in baseball with a 2.21 ERA behind teammate Chris Young's 1.82 mark, threw six innings, and Cla Meredith, Heath Bell and Doug Brocail finished the five-hitter.

No other team in baseball has more than nine shutouts this season.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made St. Louis -106 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 71% of bets for this game have been placed on San Diego -104 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Despite all that success, however, Maddux (7-8, 4.20 ERA) is the only Padres pitcher to throw a complete game this season. He gave up five hits in a 7-1 win over Cincinnati on May 14.

"I'm an advocate of complete games, believe me," Padres manager Bud Black said. "But in this day and age, the way most teams use the bullpen and us, and the way our bullpen has thrown all year, it makes sense to go to them."

Maddux, who has 340 career wins, has been struggling lately, going 0-4 with a 5.35 ERA in seven starts since his last win on June 27 at San Francisco. However, he looked sharp his last time out on Friday, giving up three runs in 6 1-3 innings and holding slugger Barry Bonds hitless in three at-bats in San Diego's 10-inning, 4-3 win over the Giants.

"There was not one time that Greg was throwing without the intention of getting (Bonds) out," Black said.

The 41-year-old right-hander has pitched well against the Cardinals, winning eight of his last 11 starts against them and going 26-19 with a 2.72 ERA in 55 career appearances. Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen is 22-for-67 (.328) with a pair of homers against Maddux.

The Cardinals have dropped six of seven, scoring just 11 runs in the defeats. They have been shut out 10 times, tying Minnesota for the major league lead.

The Padres, meanwhile, have won five of six and have allowed just nine runs in those wins, including a pair of shutouts.

Center fielder Jim Edmonds had three hits for St. Louis on Tuesday, giving him 1,000 hits since coming to St. Louis in 2000.

"I didn't have any idea, I just knew we were losing," Edmonds said. "Anything in this uniform is special. This is where my career was made."

San Diego's Geoff Blum went 3-for-5 and is hitting .500 (13-for-26) over his last seven games. However, he has just one hit in nine career at-bats against Kip Wells (4-13, 5.58), who takes the mound for St. Louis.

Wells will try to avoid becoming the first NL pitcher with 14 losses. He is 1-2 with a 4.39 ERA in five starts since a stint in the bullpen and has won just one of his last 10 starts.

But Wells looked sharp in his last start on Friday, allowing two runs in six innings without getting a decision in the Cardinals' 3-2 loss at Washington. He also went 2-for-3 with an RBI, boosting his season average to .308.

"He definitely pitched a winning game," manager Tony La Russa told the Cardinals' official Web site. "He pitched very well."

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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