Kyle Gibson’s quality start steers Cardinals past Padres

Kyle Gibson pitched seven strong innings Monday night in his Cardinals debut and Brendan Donovan came within a triple of the cycle in St. Louis’ 6-2 win over the host San Diego Padres.

Gibson (1-0) gave up just four hits and two runs, walking two and fanning four in a 94-pitch effort that constituted the first quality start for a St. Louis pitcher this season. He was backed by errorless defense and a 14-hit attack against five Padres hurlers.

Donovan paced St. Louis’ offense, going 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs. Nolan Arenado, Matt Carpenter, Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn added two hits apiece. Winn also helped turn a pair of double plays.

Matt Waldron (0-1) became the third straight San Diego starter to fail to make it through five innings, lasting only four. Waldron permitted nine hits and four runs while issuing one walk and striking out seven.

One out away from escaping the first inning without harm, Waldron found trouble. Arenado, who went 1-for-16 in the Cardinals’ opening series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, laced an RBI double to left that scored Donovan, who had singled. Willson Contreras followed with a two-run homer to center and it was 3-0.

An inning later, Donovan was at it again, ripping a two-out double down the right field line with two outs and scoring when Paul Goldschmidt lined an RBI single to left.

The Padres got on the board in the bottom of the third when rookie Jackson Merrill lined a solo homer to left, his first major league blast. However, San Diego simply couldn’t put together much else against Gibson, who was able to spot his entire arsenal of pitches on the corners and at the bottom of the strike zone.

Donovan upped the advantage to 6-1 in the sixth when he pulled an outside changeup from reliever Jhony Brito over the right field wall, his first homer of the year, with Winn aboard after a single.

San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. cracked a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth, his third of the year.

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