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Padres looking to end July with a sweep of the Cards

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Denis Poroy

An impressive 12-1 victory last night put the series win in the hands of the Padres, but they're not done with the Cardinals yet. As the two teams complete their three-game set at Petco Park with some getaway day baseball this afternoon, the Friars will go for the sweep in front of their home crowd as they send rookie Odrisamer Despaigne to the mound.

Along with Jesse Hahn, who pitched a veritable gem last night to earn himself a win on his birthday, Despaigne has been an incredible addition to the Padres rotation in place of injured starting pitchers and backups. He's made a great impression and taken advantage of the opportunity he's gotten since joining the staff on June 23rd, going 2-2 with a 1.66 ERA in six starts, including one in which he flirted with Padres history and was just four outs away from the franchise's first no-hitter. He had a bit of a rough time his last outing, however, when he gave up five runs (only two earned) and lasted only 3 2/3 innings.

Hopefully the Padres offense can give him even a fraction of the run support Hahn got last night. Another rookie, Yangervis Solarte, helped led the charge with four hits in last night's offensive explosion. Since he came over in the trade that sent former San Diego Savior Chase Headley to the Yankees; Solarte has hit to the tune of a .364 batting average, homering twice and driving in eight runs through eight games. Also adding to last night's runfest were Will Venable and Jedd Gyorko, who each homered. Gyorko has gone 6-11 since his return from the disabled list. That includes last night's home run, three hits, and four RBI.

The Cardinals will give the ball to Shelby Miller to try to keep the Padres offense quiet this afternoon. The right-hander is 7-8 with a 4.20 ERA on the season and has been struggling to pitch deep into the game lately. In each of his last five starts, a stretch in which he'sgone 0-2 with a 6.85 ERA, he's failed to make it past 5 2/3 innings. In Miller's sole career start against San Diego, last May, he surrendered three runs to Padres batters, which was enough for the loss.

Three runs might also be enough for a loss this time around if the Cardinals offense continues to sputter like it has been recently.  While the Friars continue to be at the bottom of the ranks in all the offensive stats across the league this season, the Cardinals are not that far above them with the second-worst offense in the majors. Last night was the third time in a row that they've been kept to just one run. Today they'll try to avoid their seventh loss in nine tries and avoid a sweep on the road.

Start time for today's series finale is 12:40 PT so grab your lunch and join us in the game thread.

And don't forget to check out today's SB Nation Fantasy Baseball league on FanDuel. It's $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. There's also an MLB Squeeze (Late Night) league with a first prize of $1,200 if you miss the first one. You can join at this link.