(Sports Network) - As the San Diego Padres continue to tumble down the stretch, they hope the return of a veteran pitcher can get them back on track.
Chris Young is expected to take the hill for the first time since early April and he will try to halt his club's three-game overall losing streak and 11- game skid in St. Louis this afternoon in the third contest of a four-game set versus the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
Now in his seventh season, Young hasn't pitched since April 6, when he made his season debut and beat the Diamondbacks after allowing just a hit and three walks over six scoreless innings. However, he landed on the disabled list afterwards due to a strained right shoulder.
The 6-foot-10 right-hander, who has made just 16 starts since the start of the 2009 season due to injury, gave up six earned runs over seven rehab innings as well as four hits and six walks.
"This was a goal of mine," the 31-year-old Young told San Diego's website of his return. "But just going through it all [rehabilitation] and just being satisfied being out there isn't enough. I'm not going to take it for granted."
Young will be going for his first career win over the Cardinals today as he is 0-3 with a 3.92 earned run average in four career starts versus them.
San Diego will turn to Young in the hopes of getting back into the playoff picture. The Padres are just 6-16 since Aug. 26 and Friday's 14-4 loss to the Cardinals leaves them a half-game behind National League West-leading San Francisco and 1 1/2 games back of Atlanta in the wild card race.
Miguel Tejada and Chase Headley each hit solo homers for the Padres, but Mat Latos had the worst outing of his career after allowing eight runs over just 1 1/3 innings.
"You saw the Cardinals jump [Latos] early and they took advantage of pitches up in the zone," San Diego manager Bud Black said.
The Padres, who took two of three from the Cardinals earlier this year, haven't won at St. Louis since Aug. 7, 2007.
St. Louis, meanwhile, breathed some life into its playoff hopes by pulling within six games of NL Central-leading Cincinnati. Yadier Molina paced last night's rout with four hits and a career-high five RBI, while Matt Holliday hit a solo homer and drove in three runs total.
Kyle Lohse was the beneficiary in St. Louis' second straight win, allowing three runs over five innings.
With the Cardinals deciding to skip Jaime Garcia's next start, Jeff Suppan steps back into the rotation for the first time since Sept. 1.
The Cardinals are thinking about shutting down Garcia, who is 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA in 28 starts and 163 1/3 innings this year. His status will be looked at again after this outing.
"I've never done this in my life," Garcia told St. Louis' website of his workload. "I've never pitched this long, and it's been a long year for me since Spring Training. ... I don't know how to explain it. But I'm fine. I know they're trying to be careful with me. I know they're trying to do what's best for me, for my future."
Instead, the right-handed Suppan will start for the first time since allowing four runs on three hits and four walks over five innings of a loss in Houston to begin the month. He has made two relief appearances since and is 1-5 with a 4.59 ERA in 11 games (nine starts) with the Cards this year.
The 35-year-old is 5-4 with a 5.82 ERA in 12 career meetings with the Padres, all but one of those starts.