Trevor Rosenthal and Austin Nola celebrate after the Padres defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 Friday. Photo credit: Screenshot, @padres, via Twitter

The San Diego Padres, after being on the ropes 24 hours earlier, won their second straight over the St. Louis Cardinals Friday to take their wild-card series two games to one.

With the 4-0 win, the Padres earn the right to face the hated Los Angeles Dodgers in the best-of-five National League Division Series, which begins in Texas on Tuesday.

Eric Hosmer staked the Padres to a 1-0 lead in the fifth with a two-out double to left to drive in Fernando Tatis Jr., who also doubled.

They added to the lead in the seventh, as the Cardinals got careless, committing two errors, allowing two more Padres, Jake Cronenworth and Trent Grisham, to score.

Then for good measure, Cronenworth hit a two-out solo shot in the eighth to make it 4-0.

Manager Jayce Tingler used the words “unbelieveable,” “relieving,” and “rewarding” to describe his club’s win. Yet the Padres offered up a restrained on-field celebration after the final out, one Tingler said is fitting.

“We know that there’s more work to do,” he said. “I can’t be any more clear. This is a step, one of the steps, to our ultimate goal.”

Early on, each team had their chances, but Cardinal starter Jack Flaherty and a series of Padre relievers shut the other side down.

Craig Stammen started for the Padres, and unlike Game 1 and 2 starters Chris Paddack and Zach Davies, kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard. He hadn’t taken the mound to begin a game in a decade.

The Padres though, with their depleted starting corps, given injuries to Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet, again had to rely on the bullpen. No pitcher went more than 1 2/3 innings – in this case Stammen. He gave way to seven others through eight.

They “saved my butt and kicked some butt,” Stammen said of his bullpen mates.

To close it out, Tingler turned the ball over to Trevor Rosenthal, who’s been shaky in each of his post-season appearances. He gave up one run in Game 1, but ultimately earned the save in Game 2.

But in Game 3, he struck out the side, to give Austin Adams the win. Flaherty took the loss.

Hosmer, part of the 2015 World Series champion Kansas City Royals, credited his team’s relievers, some who are rookies, others who are appearing in their first post-season, for getting “the job done.”

“You could just see everybody making tremendous strides,” he told XTRA 1360.

It was the Padres’ first post-season series victory since 1998. How far did they go then?  All the way to the World Series, where they lost to the New York Yankees.

To do so this year though, they have to make it past the rival Dodgers, the NL’s top seed. The Dodgers, who swept the Milwaukee Brewers in their wild-card series, held the advantage over the Padres during the regular season, winning six of the 10 games they played.

The other NL Division Series pits the Florida Marlins against the Atlanta Braves.

Though the Padres played their final home game at Petco Park Friday, baseball will continue at the stadium because of the bubble Major League Baseball established for the playoffs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

No teams will play at their home parks from here on in. The Yankees will take on the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Division Series beginning at 5 p.m. Monday at Petco.

Meanwhile, the Houston Astros face the Oakland Athletics in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.

– Staff reports

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