Padres (barely) Keep Pujols in the park, still take series from short despite 5-4 loss in finals

National League MLB Petco
Manny Machado took the lead this season by making sure the retiring Albert Pujols got his kudos. They embraced during Pujols’ final visit to Petco Park as a player this week. Image credit: @Padres via Twitter

The Padres didn’t see history made at Petco Park over the last three days, but they enjoyed taking two-for-three from the playoff-bound St. Louis Cardinals.

They couldn’t complete the sweep, however, as the Cardinals enjoyed a 5-4 comeback victory Thursday, thanks to a seventh-inning grand slam from Brendan Donovan.

The second baseman is not the Cardinal fans wanted to see homer if you have to. That would be future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols, who received gifts from the team — as did heralded catcher Yadier Molina, almost — and ovations from the fans.

However, Pujols gave the faithful a fright in the sixth as the Padres still led 3-1. He gave a pitch from reliever Adrian Morejon a trip to deep left, but Jurickson Profar caught it on the field.

So without a homer in San Diego, Pujols sits at 698 dingers for his career. He is trying to become just the fourth man in Major League history to join the 700 club, which includes Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.

Nick Martinez, who gave up the grand slam, took the loss. It was a blowout for the Cardinals, whom the Padres shut out to start the series — 5-0 Tuesday and 1-0 Wednesday when Blake Snell pitched a no-hitter in the seventh inning (Pujols, by the way, broke it up with a single ).

Starter Joe Musgrove left the game after just five innings Thursday, and manager Bob Melvin admitted to MLB.com that the right-hander felt tired.

However, the El Cajon native later clarified that, telling MLB, “it’s not something I worry about at all. It’s more of a muscle fatigue than it is a pain.”

After their very brief drop-in at Petco, the Padres head to Colorado for three, with Sean Manaea, Yu Darvish and Mike Clevinger set to take the mound. As it stands, the Friars and Phillies lead the race for the final two wild-card spots, with the Brewers fighting to push one of them aside.

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