(The Sports Xchange) - Stephen Piscotty went 3-for-4 with two home runs and five RBIs to lead the Cardinals to a 10-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Sunday as St. Louis successfully avoided being swept in a three-game series for the first time this season.
Right-handed starter Michael Wacha allowed one run on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts in six innings to improve to 15-5 while lowering his earned run average to 2.80.
He is now tied for the National League lead in wins and ranks 10th in ERA.
Right fielder Jason Heyward was 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, a RBI and two runs scored for the Cardinals (78-45), who still have the best record in the majors despite their struggles in San Diego.
Colin Rea allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts while throwing 94 pitches over four innings in his third major league start.
"I wasn't efficient today," said Rea. "I have to learn to get early contact to minimize pitches."
After being guilty of some sloppy play in two losses to open the series, the Cardinals took advantage of several Padres miscues in the first inning to build a quick 4-0 lead.
Center fielder Tommy Pham drew a one-out walk and raced to third when Rea threw wildly on a pick-off attempt.
With Pham at third, Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta hit a soft liner over the bag that Padres third baseman Yangervis Solarte attempted to catch while getting to third for a possible inning-ending double play.
But the ball skipped off the top of Solarte's glove for an error that allowed Pham to score and Peralta to reach base.
Heyward singled Peralta to third and stole second. Catcher Yadier Molina then singled, scoring Peralta before Piscotty followed with a two-run triple.
"I think the defensive miscues in the first made it tough for him," Padres manager Pat Murphy said of Rea.
"He didn't have his best stuff. The errors made him vulnerable."
(Compiled by Greg Stutchbury)