Padres (Barely) Keep Pujols in the Park, Still Take Series from Cards Despite 5-4 Loss in Finale

Manny Machado took the lead this season in making sure Albert Pujols, set to retire, got his kudos. They embraced during Pujols’ last visit to Petco Park as a player this week. Photo credit: @Padres via Twitter

The Padres did not see history made at Petco Park over the last three days, but they did enjoy taking two-of-three from the playoff-bound St. Louis Cardinals.

They couldn’t complete the sweep though, as the Cardinals enjoyed a 5-4 comeback win Thursday, thanks to a seventh-inning grand slam from Brendan Donovan.

The second baseman isn’t the Cardinal fans wanted to see homer, if one must. That would be future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols, who received gifts from the team – as did almost-as-heralded catcher Yadier Molina – and ovations from the fans.

Pujols gave the faithful a thrill in the sixth though, when the Padres still led 3-1. He gave a pitch from reliever Adrian Morejon a ride to deep left, but Jurickson Profar caught up to it on the track.

Albert Pujols came THIS close to hitting home run 699 pic.twitter.com/IXirProlN4

— Brian Y (@byysports) September 22, 2022

So without a homer in San Diego, Pujols sits at 698 dingers for his career. He is trying to become just the fourth man in Major League history to join the 700-club, which includes Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.

Nick Martinez, who gave up the grand slam, took the loss. That was an outburst for the Cardinals, who the Padres shut out to start the series – 5-0 on Tuesday and 1-0 on Wednesday, when Blake Snell had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning (Pujols, by the way, broke it up with a single).

Starter Joe Musgrove left the game after just five innings Thursday and manger Bob Melvin conceded to MLB.com that the right-hander was feeling fatigued.

The El Cajon native explained it away later though, telling MLB, “this is not something I’m concerned with at all. It’s more of a muscle fatigue than it is a pain.”

Respect greatness pic.twitter.com/VGKCFFmPYZ

— San Diego Padres (@Padres) September 21, 2022

After their very brief drop-in at Petco, the Padres head to Colorado for three, with Sean Manaea, Yu Darvish and Mike Clevinger set to take the mound. As it stands, the Friars and the Phillies lead the race for the final two wild-card spots, with the Brewers struggling to nudge one of them aside.