Streaking Cards hit the road to battle Padres

The St. Louis Cardinals have been road warriors so far this season, and they'll look to continue that trend on Monday as they visit Petco Park to open a three-game set with the San Diego Padres.

The Cardinals' 14-7 record away from home is tops in the National League. Monday's game opens an eight-game road trip, which also includes stops in Los Angeles and Kansas City.

St. Louis has won 14 of its last 18 games overall and leads the NL Central with a 2 1/2-game margin over Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The Cardinals improved to 13 games above .500 with Sunday's 4-2 victory over Milwaukee.

All four of those runs came in the fourth inning as minor league callup John Gast topped former Redbird Kyle Lohse.

Meanwhile, San Diego salvaged a four-game split with the Washington Nationals thanks to Sunday's 13-4 triumph. Five different Padres drove in two runs. The offense managed 15 hits in all, including three home runs.

"Today, it snowballed in the right direction," hitting coach Phil Plantier said. "Sometimes you get rewarded with a big, crooked number."

Toeing the rubber for San Diego is Jason Marquis, who has gone a perfect 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA over his last four starts. Most recently, Marquis gave up seven hits and issued four walks in five innings against Baltimore on Wednesday. Despite not having his best stuff, the veteran clamped down and executed pitches in key spots.

"Some days you're not going to feel as good as others, but you've still got to make pitches in a big situation," Marquis said. "It was huge for the defense to pick me up. I tried to force them to hit the top of the ball."

Shelby Miller gets the nod for St. Louis. Miller currently owns a 14 2/3- inning scoreless streak, and his 1.40 ERA is tied with the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw for the lowest in the majors. Opponents are hitting a mere .182 off the right-hander.

"I feel really strong," Miller said last week. "I feel really good. I feel like I'm where I need to be."

Miller pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings against the Mets on Wednesday, allowing only four hits while striking out six.

This marks the first meeting between St. Louis and San Diego this season. The teams split six meetings a year ago.