SAN DIEGO -- A short and compact swing with the intent to use the middle of the field has served Logan Forsythe well this season and, for six innings Monday, produced three big swings for the Padres second baseman.
But Forsythe essentially gave away his final two at-bats of the night when, needing a home run for the first cycle in franchise history, he came out of his cleats swinging for the fences with both of those at-bats ending in strikeouts.
"I won't do that again, Forsythe said with a smirk.
It was another good night to laugh for the Padres and their surging offense, as Forsythe and Cameron Maybin each missed hitting for the cycle, though the consolation prize -- an 11-3 victory over the Cardinals at Petco Park -- was certainly satisfying enough.
"We fell short tonight," said Padres manager Bud Black of the two near cycles.
They didn't fall short elsewhere, though.
The Padres (67-75), finished with 17 hits as they dealt a blow to the Cardinals (75-66) in their bid for a National League Wild Card spot.
Forsythe had a triple, double and single, while Maybin finished with a single, home run and a double to ignite a big night of offense for a team that rates as one of the most improved in the Major Leagues in the second half of the season.
On June 29, the Padres were 22 games below .500 and 16 games out of first place in the NL West. But after Monday's win, their fifth in six games, they are 8 1/2 games back of first place and 2 1/2 games behind the D-backs for third place in the division.
"They're really showing every day a determination to win a ballgame," Black said.
Scoring runs in bunches doesn't hurt either, as was the case Monday, with the Padres totaling multiple runs in five different innings. They scored their first six runs with two outs and finished with six hits with runners in scoring position.
It wasn't just Maybin and Forsythe causing the damage, either, as leadoff hitter Chris Denorfia had four hits to raise his average to .303. Everth Cabrera had three hits and Yonder Alonso had two as the team finished with six extra-base hits.
"We're approaching the plate with a plan and we're executing," Forsythe said.
It looked early on as if the Padres might be headed for a shootout, especially after starting pitcher Eric Stults (6-2) allowed two runs in the second inning. But the Padres, who threatened against Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia (4-7) in the first inning, scored twice in the second.
"I like the fact that we had Garcia on the ropes and he wiggled out of it and then we came back with two runs in the second. From there, we kept putting pressure on him," Black said.
From there, Garcia struggled while Stults rolled on, getting eight ground balls even while rolling up a high pitch count, finishing with a season-high 104 pitches in 5 1/3 innings.
"My stuff was OK, but I was deep in a lot of counts and threw a lot of pitches in the second inning," he said. "I don't think it was my best night, but I was able to keep the team in the game."
As for Garcia, who tossed a shutout against the Padres on the third day of the regular season in 2011, he never found his niche, allowing four runs on seven hits in three innings.
"I was leaving balls up. They've got a good lineup, and I just didn't execute," Garcia said.
San Diego left fielder Carlos Quentin left after a third-inning at-bat with soreness in his right knee, according to the team. Quentin had surgery on the knee in March and didn't make his first appearance until May 28. The knee had kept him from the starting lineup in recent days.
"He gave it a go tonight and it didn't respond as we would have hoped," Black said. "We'll address it again tomorrow."