ST. LOUIS -- Jedd Gyorko has just about chomped off the hand that once fed him.
The former San Diego Padre has feasted on his old team's pitching in four meetings this year, going 9-for-14 with three homers and five RBIs. He was 3-for-3 with a solo homer and two runs Monday night in the St. Louis Cardinals' 10-2 win.
However, Gyorko downplayed the concept of getting up a little more for games with San Diego.
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"It's just one of those things," he said. "I'm seeing the ball well and that's what it comes down to."
Based on those numbers, Gyorko might be back in the lineup for Tuesday night's game, even though the Padres will trot out a right-hander in Colin Rea (5-3, 4.95). Gyorko has homered in three straight games against San Diego, making him the first St. Louis hitter to do so since Rick Ankiel went yard in four straight games from 2007-08.
Gyorko's homer Monday night came a pitch after Randal Grichuk belted a two-run shot, marking the ninth straight game in which the Cardinals homered. That's their longest streak since cracking homers in 11 straight games in May 2009.
Rea could be a candidate to make that 10 in a row. Although his nine homers in 87 innings is a respectable figure, Rea is also allowing the opponents to bat .259 and has allowed a team-high 37 walks.
And it's not like St. Louis needs the help. It has belted 126 homers this year, only 11 fewer than it hit all last year, and is on pace to finish with more than 200.
But the Cardinals are just 48-44 even though they've outscored opponents by 98 runs, in large part because of poor fielding and inconsistent pitching. However, their best starter takes the mound Tuesday night.
Carlos Martinez (8-6, 2.85 ERA) is coming off an 11-strikeout performance July 9 in Milwaukee that tied a career high. Martinez has been especially murderous on right-handed hitters, allowing them just one extra-base hit and limiting them to a .189 slugging percentage.
However, Martinez will face three powerful right-handed bats at the top of the San Diego lineup in Melvin Upton, Jr., Wil Myers and Matt Kemp, who have combined for 55 homers.
Kemp's fourth inning homer Monday night extended the Padres' franchise-record streak with a long ball to 16 straight games, the National League's longest since the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers homered in 16 consecutive games.
"With the first four guys, the ball can leave the yard at any time," San Diego manager Andy Green said.
But Kemp's homer was the only offensive highlight for the Padres (41-52) Monday night as they fanned 15 times. Myers punched out in all four of his at-bats, the first time in his career he's done that.
"I don't know about being surprised," Green said. "I mean, it's baseball. There are games during a season where you have games like that. This game is gone. I'm not happy about it."