1969: Padres Falter Late, Lose to Carlton and Cardinals

May 17, 1969, San Diego: Cardinals 5, Padres 1 (box score)

Clay Kirby had helped lead the Padres to victory six days earlier in St. Louis. This time, in San Diego, he faced up-and-coming left-hander Steve Carlton.

Signed by the Cardinals in 1963 as an amateur free agent, Carlton first surfaced with the big club in 1965. After another cup of coffee the following season, he established himself as a rotation mainstay in 1967 and 1968. The 24-year-old from Miami entered Saturday evening’s contest with 32 big-league victories and 406 strikeouts.

The visitors scored first. In the top of the second, with nobody on and two out, Mike Shannon singled to center. Julian Javier followed with a double to left. Shannon scored when Al Ferrara misplayed the ball, leading to an unearned run off Kirby.

The Padres responded immediately. In the bottom half of the frame, Ferrara led off with a walk. Two outs later, Chris Cannizzaro smacked a double to center, tying the game at 1-1. Unfortunately, despite six walks on the evening by Carlton, the Padres would do no further damage.

With the score still tied in the seventh, St. Louis broke through in a big way. After singles by Lou Brock and Curt Flood to open the inning, Dick Kelley relieved Kirby.

With one out and the bases loaded, Kelley walked Tim McCarver to force home what would prove to be the winning run. The Cardinals added two insurance runs on a Phil Gagliano single off Frank Reberger, who had come in to clean up the mess left by Kirby and Kelley.

The Cardinals scored again in the ninth to make the final score 5-1. In front of more than 15,000 fans for the second straight night, the Padres saw their record fall to 16-22.

Trivia: Carlton finished the evening with 33 wins and 414 strikeouts for his career. He would record an additional 296 wins and 3722 strikeouts over the following two decades.

Elsewhere in the world: Majestic Prince won the 95th running of the Preakness Stakes.

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