Merrill hits first homer but Cardinals jump Padres early, cruise to 6-2 win

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego, CA- Petco Park

The Padres opened up their second series of this homestand against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.

Matt Waldron got the nod for the Padres, opposite Kyle Gibson for the Cardinals. St. Louis got to Waldron in the first inning for three runs, which set the tone for the Cardinals’ 6-2 victory.

Nolan Arenado opened the scoring for the Red Birds, lining an RBI double down the left-field line. All-Star catcher Willson Contreras launched a two-run homer to push their lead to 3-0.

After getting two quick outs in the second inning, Waldron surrendered a double to Brendan Donovan before Paul Goldschmidt singled him home, giving the Cardinals a 4-0 lead.

Waldron was able to settle in to pitch four full innings. After that, he gave way to Jhony Brito in the fifth after allowing a leadoff single. In those four frames, he was charged with four earned runs and walked one while striking out seven. He used his newly-famous knuckleball a heavy amount.

At times, it was difficult for catcher Luis Campusano to track it down. In fact, that is what led to the Cardinals having a runner in scoring position for Arenado in the first. Campusano was unable to secure a knuckler, and it bounced off his glove, allowing the runner to advance to second.

One of the biggest stories for the Padres on Monday, despite the losing effort, was 20-year-old rookie Jackson Merrill notching his first MLB home run. He lined a ball into left in the bottom of the third for career homer No. 1.

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In the following at bat, he stung a ball into the right-center gap but the ball was hunted down by a diving Jordan Walker, robbing Merrill of more extra bases.

The Cardinals were able to add on as Brendan Donovan continued to be a pest, swatting a two-run homer in the sixth against Brito, pushing the lead to 6-2.

Stephen Kolek relieved Brito, tossing two scoreless frames. Enyel De Los Santos and Tom Cosgrove completed the game out of the bullpen.

Fernando Tatis Jr. launched his third home run of the season, but it was too little too late. After Gibson went seven innings, JoJo Romero and Ryan Helsley closed out the win for the Cardinals.

The Padres look to even the series on Tuesday with Yu Darvish toeing the rubber against Miles Mikolas.

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