- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

ST. LOUIS (AP) - It’s human nature to try harder against your old team. Jedd Gyorko is taking that to extremes.

Gyorko homered for the fifth straight game off San Diego pitching, connecting twice with all three RBIs in a 3-2 victory that gave the St. Louis Cardinals a doubleheader sweep Wednesday night.

“The kind of tear he’s on, not many people do something like that,” manager Mike Matheny said. “I know it always does make it a little sweeter when it’s a team you’ve been on before, for whatever reason.”

Gyorko, dealt by the Padres in the offseason for outfielder Jon Jay, is 13 for 21 (.619) against his old team with six homers and 10 RBIs. He has 11 homers and 27 RBIs on the year with 40 starts spread across the infield. He started at third base both games of the doubleheader.

Gyorko has four consecutive three-hit games against San Diego and four career multi-homer games, with both long balls in Game 2 off Paul Clemens (1-1). He’s the first Cardinal to homer in five straight games against the Padres since Albert Pujols in 2001-02.

“He’s their best hitter right now and either make quality pitches and get him out or walk him and make the next guy beat you,” Clemens said. “No harm, no foul in a walk.”

Gyorko hadn’t been familiar with either of the starting pitchers. After the first game he did his best to downplay it all, saying he felt “far from” Superman.

“A couple good games,” Gyorko said. “So, hopefully just keep it going and try to stay locked in as long as I can.”

Carlos Martinez (9-6) was dominant after a shaky first inning and a nosebleed in the second, and the Cardinals took the opener 4-2. Gyorko, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina homered off Colin Rea (5-4).

The Cardinals, just 23-28 at home, go for a four-game sweep Thursday night with ace Adam Wainwright facing Andrew Cashner. Matheny said with a smile “there’s a good chance” Gyorko will be in there.

“That team, I don’t know what their record is and they might not be in first place but it’s a good lineup, a good team,” Garcia said. “To be able to get these two W’s is huge.”

Ryan Schimpf homered in both games for San Diego with his sixth and seventh of the season.

All 11 runs in the twin bill scored on homers.

Garcia (7-6) allowed a run in 5 2-3 innings in the second game and Seung Hwan Oh earned his fourth save in five chances, and second of the day. Oh is the first Cardinals pitcher to save both ends of a doubleheader since Jason Isringhausen against the Pirates in 2004.

The Padres had two on and no outs in the fifth but failed to execute on a safety squeeze when Travis Jankowski tapped back to the mound, giving Garcia time to throw to the plate for a tag.

Only 11,191 fans were in the seats for the opener, rescheduled from a rainout on Tuesday night. Paid attendance was 40,184. Attendance was 41,012 for the finale.

Martinez’s nosebleed halted the opener for about 12 minutes but turned out to be just a minor issue. The right-hander was even better once trainers stopped the bleeding with cotton balls and petroleum jelly.

San Diego opened with Jankowski’s double and Schimpf’s two-run homer but had just two more hits off Martinez. After play resumed, he retired 11 of his next 12 batters.

Aledmys Diaz had two hits and has reached safely in 23 consecutive games, longest by a rookie this season. He is 13 for 19 against San Diego with a homer and four RBIs.

Rea had been 2-0 with a 3.68 ERA in his previous four starts. He allowed four runs in six innings in his first outing in two weeks.

HOMER HAPPY

Matt Kemp’s 20th of the year gave San Diego a homer in 18 consecutive games, extending a franchise record and the NL’s longest streak since the Reds had an 18-game run in 2010. The Cardinals have homered in a season-best 11 straight games, totaling 23 in that time.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: C Christian Bethancourt took a foul ball off his right knee guard in the seventh inning of the opener but finished without issues. Derek Norris played the second game.

UP NEXT

Padres: Cashner (4-7, 5.05) has lost two of his last three starts.

Cardinals: Wainwright (9-5, 4.19) is coming off a three-hit shutout against the Marlins and has allowed one run in his last 23 innings.

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