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Cards try to salvage finale versus Padres

( - The St. Louis Cardinals have hit a bump in the road and will try to salvage the finale of a three-game series with the San Diego Padres Thursday at Petco Park.

The Cardinals have lost two straight and six of eight games, and were hammered by a 12-1 score on Wednesday. Joe Kelly got the start for the Cardinals and allowed four runs in five innings to absorb the loss. The bullpen then gave up eight additional runs.

Matt Adams had the lone extra-base hit for St. Louis with a double.

"Probably our ugliest loss of the year," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That's the best way to describe it. That's not the kind of baseball we've played all year. It was terrible. That's just not what we do. Take any aspect of the game and it was awful."

Prior to Wednesday's game, the Cardinals acquired pitcher Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for outfield prospect James Ramsey.

The Cardinals are 2 1/2 games behind Milwaukee for the NL Central lead and Pittsburgh is just two games off the mark. After visiting the Padres, St. Louis will return home for six games versus Milwaukee and Boston.

Cardinals right-hander Shelby Miller hasn't won since June 7 and will get the start Thursday. Miller is 0-3 with a 5.45 earned run average in his last eight games (7 starts) and did not record a decision in Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Miller, who is 7-8 with a 4.20 ERA this season after going 15-9 a year ago, has a 4-3 record in 10 road starts. He has faced the Padres twice (1 start) in his career, going 0-1 with a 5.19 ERA in that time (8 2/3 innings).

The Padres are aiming for a sweep Thursday and hope to keep the bats going. In last night's romp of the Cards, Will Venable and Jedd Gyorko homered and knocked in four runs apiece, while Yangervis Solarte went 4-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored for the Padres, who pounded out 16 hits.

Alexi Amarista went 3-for-5 with three runs scored.

San Diego starting pitcher Jesse Hahn, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Wednesday, gave up one run on four hits. The right-hander won his third straight start.

"To get a win on your birthday, that's an awesome feeling," Hahn said. "It makes it a lot easier when they put up runs like that."

San Diego has won five of its last eight games and is unbeaten in its last four games at Petco Park. The club will host Atlanta next for three games.

Padres young hurler Odrisamer Despaigne tries to shake the rust off the first shaky start of his career when he takes the mound Thursday. Despaigne was trampled to the tune of five runs -- two earned -- and six hits in a career- low 3 2/3 innings of a 5-3 loss at Atlanta on Saturday.

Despaigne is 0-2 in his last four starts after opening his career with a 2-0 mark and a 0.66 earned run average. His ERA is now 1.66. The right-hander has never faced St. Louis and will make his fourth start at Petco Park (1-0, 1.33 ERA).

St. Louis won four of its six meetings with the Padres last season.

07/31 10:37:34 ET

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