ST. LOUIS -- Having played in San Diego for the first three seasons of his major league career, Jedd Gyorko has spent this week talking with old teammates when he has a chance.
His former teammates have spent most of the last three days in town watching Gyorko round the bases.
Gyorko belted three homers on Wednesday in the St. Louis Cardinals' 4-2 and 3-2 doubleheader sweep of the Padres, giving him six in his last five games against San Diego and making him 13-of-21 against his ex-employer this year.
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His final chance to add to those spectacular numbers comes Thursday night in the series finale. Another homer would make him the first player to homer in six straight games against the Padres since Chipper Jones in 2003-04.
But Gyorko, who has raised his average 27 points in the last three games, has no illusions about his place in the sport's planet.
"I'm far from Superman," he said. "I had two good games today. Hopefully, I can stay locked in and keep building confidence."
More than half of Gyorko's 11 homers this year have come against San Diego pitching, a stat that has to be especially galling to Padres management and fans. After all, they are still paying $2.5 million of his salary, a condition of the Dec. 8 trade that sent Jon Jay to the west coast.
San Diego manager Andy Green says it comes down to execution, or the lack of it.
"We've consistently missed our spots by a foot and a half," Green said. "We've consistently put the ball right in his wheelhouse. I don't think it's a matter of the game plan being wrong. The guy's getting pitches in his zone."
Andrew Cashner (4-7, 5.05 ERA) has the task of keeping the ball out of Gyorko's nitro zone, unless he gets traded before the start, as some rumors suggest could occur. Cashner is coming off a 4-1 win on Friday night over San Francisco and Madison Bumgarner, fanning a season-high nine in six innings.
St. Louis plans to start Adam Wainwright (9-5, 4.15), who can become its first starter to reach double figures in wins. Wainwright has allowed only one run in his last 23 innings, tossing a three-hit shutout Saturday night against Miami.
Wainwright's recent return to the form that made him one of baseball's top starters in recent years should pose a threat to the Padres' 18-game home run streak, the National League's longest since Cincinnati did it in 2010.
But San Diego (41-54) hasn't been able to use its long ball proficiency to reverse its poor fortunes in St. Louis, where it is 10-27 since the third version of Busch Stadium opened in 2006.
The Cardinals' first doubleheader sweep in more than three years turned extra profitable when wild-card contenders in front of and behind them all lost. They gained 1 1/2 games on four teams, drawing within a game of Miami for the second wild-card spot.
Their latest success against the Padres included what Gyorko called the first curtain call of his career after his second homer of the nightcap.
"That was cool," he said. "Hopefully, I can get a few more of those."