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Taveras shows signs of ending slump, has two hits in Cardinals' 9-5 loss to Padres

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ST. LOUIS - A two-day trip to the bench has seemed to work wonders for St. Louis outfielder Oscar Taveras.

The highly touted rookie had two hits on Saturday night in the Cardinals' 9-5 loss to San Diego.

Taveras did not start on Thursday and Friday while mired in a 3-for-23 skid. He did pinch-hit in Friday night's win and had an RBI single.

That effort helped him wrestle the starting spot back from Shane Robinson.

"I used those days off to work hard in the cage, and work hard with the coaches," Taveras said through an interpreter. "I think it helped. I felt pretty comfortable out there tonight."

Taveras, who was recalled on July 1 for the second time this season, doubled in Jhonny Peralta in the second inning Saturday night to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. He also singled in the sixth.

"I'm not swinging at bad pitches, like I was before," he said.

Taveras is hitting .219 with two homers and 14 RBIs. He had a seven-game hitting streak from July 31-August 7. He said he feels as though he is close to regaining that form.

"I hope I've got things going again," he said.

Jedd Gyorko got it going for the Padres with his third career grand slam and drove in five runs.

Gyorko's eighth homer came on an 0-1 pitch from Kevin Siegrist (1-3) with one out in the seventh. The Padres had loaded the bases on two singles and a walk before Gyorko's drive to left.

Rain then halted play later in the inning. The game was delayed 1 hour, 46 minutes and only a handful of the crowd of 44,079 stayed to watch the finish.

The Cardinals, who had won three in a row, dropped three games back of Milwaukee for the NL Central lead. The Brewers beat Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers 3-2.

Alex Torres (2-1) earned the win when he got the last out in the sixth in relief of rookie starter Jesse Hahn. San Diego won for the sixth time in its last eight games.

"We get some offensive production early on; it's hard to see that go away," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "We had two really rough innings that made for a bad day."

Matt Adams' two-out RBI triple in the fifth gave St. Louis a 5-4 lead. It was Adams' team-high fifth triple.

The Cardinals struck for four runs in the second. Peralta hit a run-scoring double down the left-field line and scored on Taveras' one-out double that hit just in front of the wall in centre.

Matt Carpenter added a two-run double for the Cardinals. Rymer Liriano tried to catch the line drive but it landed in front of him and bounced by him.

But San Diego got the runs back against Shelby Miller in the third.

Gyorko had an RBI single and rookie Jake Goebbert hit a bases-loaded triple with two down.

"You get a four-run lead you don't go out and give up four runs," Miller said. "Unacceptable. Obviously, it doesn't sit well with me. I should have done a better job of making pitches."

Seth Smith's third hit in the eighth drove the Padres' final run.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: 3B Yangervis Solarte returned to the lineup after missing two games with a mild left oblique strain. He was the leadoff spot, the third time he has done so this season.

Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (right shoulder) threw off the bullpen mound before the game. He threw 30 pitches. He had not pitched off a mound since his June 17 start against the New York Mets. He will undergo an MRI on Monday to check the shoulder.

TARGET PRACTICE

St. Louis CF Jon Jay was hit twice by a pitch. He also was hit by a pitch twice Friday, giving him four in two games. He leads the major leagues with 14 hit by pitches.

CARDINALS HALL OF FAME

Willie McGee, Jim Edmonds, Mike Shannon and the late Marty Marion were honoured Saturday with their induction into St. Louis' newly created Cardinals Hall of Fame.

UP NEXT

Rookie RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (3-3, 2.72 ERA) faces Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright (14-7, 2.34 ERA) in the finale of the four-game series Sunday. Despaigne pitched seven scoreless innings in a victory over Colorado in his previous start. Wainwright is 5-2 with a 1.47 ERA against the Padres. He is coming off a 3-0 loss at Miami in his last outing.

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