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Though runs remain hard to come by for the St. Louis Cardinals, they are no longer mired in their longest losing stretch of the season.

They'll have the chance to salvage a series split with the visiting San Diego Padres on Sunday.

St. Louis (52-28) has scored eight runs and gone 2 for 39 with runners in scoring position over the last five contests, but the MLB leaders managed to snap a four-game skid with Saturday's 2-1 victory. Jhonny Peralta broke an eighth-inning tie with a sacrifice fly to help the Cardinals finally prevail despite recording four hits for a second consecutive game.

''It's a matter of time until we start putting up the big offensive numbers that we know we can,'' manager Mike Matheny said.

Peralta, who has two of those eight hits over the last two days, is batting .310 in the seven games.

He drove home outfielder Tommy Pham, who went 0 for 3 in his season debut Friday but had two hits and scored twice a day later.

"It means a whole lot, just to be up here and contributing," Pham said after his eighth career contest.

The Cardinals have scored 26 runs in 14 starts with Lance Lynn (5-4, 2.74 ERA) on the mound. The only run the right-hander has yielded over 12 innings of his last two outings came in the third of Tuesday's 2-1, 11-inning loss to the Chicago White Sox.

"A lot of deep counts and a lot of balls that found holes and things like that," a hardly satisfied Lynn told MLB's official website. "That'll happen, but I was able to get through six and only give up one run.

"So when you're having what you would call a bad night and that's the end result, you'll take it."

Lynn is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last five starts but 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in day games this season. He's 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA against the Padres (39-44), who scored two or fewer for the fourth time in five games but were feeling good after taking the first two in St. Louis.

''This is a tough loss when you've got a little momentum going,'' manager Pat Murphy said.

Will Venable, whose two-run homer in the 11th gave San Diego a 5-3 win in Thursday's opener, is 5 for 13 with two doubles and a home run against Lynn.

Yangervis Solarte is 0 for 6 off Lynn, but is batting .357 in his last eight games and has homered twice in the series.

Ian Kennedy (4-7, 4.86) has allowed 10 runs over 11 innings of his last two starts, but only two were earned while the Padres have committed three errors and failed to score. He gave up three unearned and two homers over five innings of a 5-0 loss to Seattle on Tuesday.

San Diego has totaled five runs while the right-hander has gone 1-2 with a 1.50 ERA in his last four outings.

Kennedy is 2-4 with a 9.00 ERA in six starts against the Cardinals, but last faced them in 2013.


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