SAN DIEGO (AP) — Wil Myers is turning out to be just the spark plug the San Diego Padres need him to be.
Myers had a solo homer among his three hits and drove in three runs, and Andrew Cashner threw six strong innings to lead the San Diego Padres to a 4-1 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.
Part of the key to get Myers going is batting him in the first inning. He’s been hitting in the No. 2 spot for a week.
“By nature he likes to instigate,” manager Andy Green said. “By nature he likes to be out front. If you watch him get on deck after the inning ends, he’s out ready to hit faster than any human I’ve ever seen in my entire life. He just wants to go. He wants to go all the time. Hitting in the first inning I think probably really suits him and l think it’s been a welcome change for him.”
Said Myers: “I do like to hit in the first inning. Andy asked me in the offseason, ‘What would be your ideal place to hit?’ and I said, ‘Anywhere in the first inning. I would definitely like to hit anytime I can jump on something early in the game.'”
He also didn’t strike out for the first time this season.
“I’m proud of that good approach,” said Myers, who was limited to only 60 games last year due to a wrist injury. “I finally felt something click in my approach. That was the biggest thing.”
The Padres have won four of six games.
Myers’ homer to right-center off Adam Wainwright with one out in the first was estimated at 418 feet. It was his fourth.
Myers hit a sacrifice fly in the third to score Cashner, who beat out a leadoff bunt single and advanced to third on Jon Jay’s single to right. Myers’ third hit was an RBI double in the seventh.
“Their hitters made some good swings,” Wainwright said. “Wil Myers made some very good swings tonight. So they beat me, and I’m getting tired of losing. I know that, so I’m just going to keep grinding, keep working.”
Wainwright (0-3) allowed three runs and three hits in seven innings, struck out two and walked one.
Adam Rosales hit an RBI double for the Padres in the fourth.
Cashner’s only mistake as allowing Randal Grichuk’s homer to left-center with two outs in the fourth, his third. He allowed one run and three hits while striking out four and walking one.
Cashner (1-1) is looking to bounce back from a rough 2015, when he went 6-16 with a 4.34 ERA.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Casher’s approach wasn’t what St. Louis batters expected.
“He came at us and he used his other pitches more than just his fastball,” the skipper said. “He was making pretty good pitches overall. We had to fight for any kind of rhythm at all.”
The Cardinals had only one hit in the first three innings.
“We’ve just got to bear down in those situations and got to make something happen,” Matheny said.
Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his third save.
The Cardinals had a chance to close within one run in the seventh but Kolton Wong, aboard on a leadoff single, was thrown out trying to score on Ruben Tejada’s double to right.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (1-0, 2.76) is scheduled to start the middle game of the series Saturday night.
Padres: RHP Cesar Vargas will be called up Saturday from Double-A San Antonio to make his big league debut. The Padres will have to make a corresponding move. Vargas will be starting in the rotation spot of Robbie Erlin, who’s on the DL with a strained left elbow.