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Jedd Gyorko makes Padres pay as San Diego bullpen wastes Cesar Vargas' stellar debut

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Denis Poroy/Getty Images

A day after being booed by some misguided Padres fans in his return to Petco Park, Jedd Gyorko dusted his shoulders and let his bat respond. He went 3-5 with three RBI, all of which came on a monstrous eighth-inning home run which he punctuated with a vigorous bat spike. Those three runs alone would have been enough to sink the Padres, but they were just part of ten that the Cardinals dropped on the Padres' bullpen in the final three innings, thoroughly wasting the excellent major league debut of starting pitcher Cesar Vargas.

Vargas, who was called up from AA, struck out the first batter he faced, Kolten Wong, and rolled from there. In the first five innings he allowed four singles and two walks, none of whom made their way around the bases. However, when he went back out for the sixth inning he was greeted by a leadoff homer off the bat of Stephen Piscotty which evened the score at ones. After walking the following batter, longtime Padres nemesis Matt Holliday, Vargas was visited by manager Andy Green who summoned Kevin Quackenbush. Vargas left having allowed just the one run on five hits and three walks; he also struck out three batters.

After inducing a double play and another grounder from the two hitters he faced in the sixth, Quackenbush came back out for the seventh with a lead thanks to a sacrifice fly by Alexei Ramirez, and that's when the whole sweater unraveled. He allowed a single and a walk before being replaced by Brad Hand, who gave up a game-tying single to pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter, the only batter he faced. Carlos Villanueva then came in and was taken deep by another pinch-hitter, Jeremy Hazelbaker, to put St. Louis up 5-2. The Cardinals tacked on six more in the final two innings, including Gyorko's statement blast.

Despite the thoroughness of the defeat, it still only counts as one loss in the books, so the series is now tied. The two clubs will meet back up tomorrow afternoon at 1:40pm PDT, with Colin Rea and Mike Leake starting for their respective teams.