SAN DIEGO (AP) — Lars Nootbaar provided St. Louis' first run in four games with a solo homer, and then rookie Brendan Donovan gave the NL Central leaders an even bigger lift.
Donovan hit his first career grand slam slam in the seventh inning to lead Albert Pujols and the Cardinals to a 5-4 victory against the San Diego Padres on Thursday, snapping a three-game losing streak.
Pujols was among the first teammates to greet Donovan in the dugout.
"It was one of the bigger swings I've had this year so that was cool for me," Donovan said.
Pujols remained at 698 career homers, although he did drive two balls to deep left field, one for a single and one for an out on the warning track. The next stop in his pursuit of the 700-homer club is Dodger Stadium, where the Cardinals open a three-game series on Friday.
Manny Machado hit his 30th homer for the Padres, who had won five in a row. They currently hold the NL's No. 2 wild-card spot.
Donovan's slam made a winner of Jack Flaherty (1-1), who struck out nine in six innings. He allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits and four walks.
Giovanny Gallegos pitched the ninth for his 14th save.
The Cardinals, who had been shut out in their previous three games, got on the board when Nootbaar led off the fifth with a drive to right against Joe Musgrove for his 13th homer. That ended a scoreless streak of 31 2/3 innings by Padres starters, five outs shy of the club record.
"We know we have a great team and a great offense that's going to turn at any point," Donovan said. "It was just a matter of who was going to do it. I'm pumped for Lars. That's a big swing."
Musgrove was gone after five innings and 72 pitches, and Adrian Morejon breezed through a perfect sixth to hold a 3-1 lead.
Alec Burleson singled leading off the seventh and Nootbaar drew a one-out walk, leading manager Bob Melvin to bring on Nick Martinez (4-4). Tommy Edman walked to load the bases before Donovan drove his first career grand slam deep to right-center.
Donovan said he was looking to drive a ball to the biggest part of the field and bring in a run when he connected on a 3-1 cutter. It was his fifth homer this season.
"It just kind of ran into my barrel a little more than I thought it would. I was still running hard. You never know," he said.
Asked what going through his mind, he added: "Don't miss the base. ... I'm just running hard and make sure I hit all the bases on the way by."
Pujols, who plans to retire after this season, one-hopped the wall in left for a single in the second. He popped up in the fourth and then hit a drive off Morejon that Jurickson Profar caught on the track for the final out of the sixth. He flied out to center in the eighth.
Profar drove Flaherty's second pitch deep into the seats in right for his fourth career leadoff homer and third of the season. He has 15 overall. Profar also hit an RBI double in the fifth.
Musgrove allowed one run and five hits, struck out four and walked two.
MARINERS 9, ATHLETICS 5
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Julio Rodríguez doubled and scored before leaving with lower back tightness, and the Mariners avoided a three-game sweep.
Rodríguez slowly walked off the field with a trainer in the bottom half of the first inning. He recently missed three games in Anaheim with a lower back issue.
Jarred Kelenic homered and doubled for Seattle in his first game since being called up from Triple-A Tacoma. Adam Frazier had three RBIs, and Matthew Boyd (2-0) pitched two innings for the win.
Seattle entered the day with a four-game lead over Baltimore for the third and final AL wild card.
Stephen Vogt tripled in three runs for Oakland. Vogt also announced he will retire at the end of the season, ending a 10-year major league career.
Kirby Snead (1-1) was charged with the loss.
ORIOLES 2, ASTROS 0
BALTIMORE (AP) — Kyle Bradish came within one out of his first career shutout, outpitching Justin Verlander in a stellar performance and leading Baltimore to the victory.
Bradish (4-7) struck out 10 and walked none. He departed after Jeremy Pena's two-out single in the ninth, and Felix Bautista struck out Aledmys Díaz for his 15th save.
Trey Mancini went 0 for 3 in his first game back at Camden Yards since the Orioles traded him to Houston on Aug. 1, and the Astros failed in their first attempt at earning their 100th victory this season.
The Orioles remained four games behind Seattle in the race for a postseason spot, but they were set to gain ground on the loser of the Tampa Bay-Toronto game.
Verlander (17-4) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings in his second game back from a calf injury.
BREWERS 5, REDS 1
CINCINNATI (AP) — Kolten Wong hit a career-high three homers and drove in five runs, leading Brandon Woodruff and Milwaukee to the victory.
Wong hit a two-run drive in the second inning against Hunter Greene (4-13). He hit another two-run shot in the sixth off Dauri Moreta and a solo drive in the eighth against Joel Kuhnel. Wong has 15 homers and 46 RBIs on the season.
The second-place Brewers (80-70) opened a four-game set against lowly Cincinnati with their second straight win.
Woodruff (12-4) struck out 11 in six innings.
Kyle Farmer hit his 13th homer in the sixth for Cincinnati.
ROYALS 4, TWINS 1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jonathan Heasley pitched six innings of two-hit ball, and the Royals beat the Twins to complete a three-game series sweep.
Edward Oliveras and Drew Waters homered for Kansas City. Salvador Perez also drove in a run, extending his streak to seven straight games with an RBI.
Heasley (4-8) allowed one run, struck out three and walked two. Brad Keller got three outs for his first career save.
The first home sweep of at least three games by the Royals since July 2021 also probably ended the fading playoff hopes of the Twins, who two weeks ago were in the midst of an AL Central race but lost eight of nine on their road trip.
Minnesota rookie Josh Winder (4-5) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.
GIANTS 3, ROCKIES 0
DENVER (AP) — Mike Yastrzemski homered and John Brebbia pitched an inning in his second start of the series, helping the Giants complete a four-game sweep.
Brebbia was followed by five relievers in the 10-hit shutout. Jharel Cotton (3-2) pitched 2 2/3 innings for the win in his first big league appearance since he was claimed off waivers from Minnesota on Sunday. Camilo Doval got three outs for his 24th save.
Brebbia also worked a scoreless inning when he got the start for Tuesday night's 6-3 victory. He became the first Giants pitcher to start twice in the same series since Dominic Leone against San Diego last September.
San Francisco pulled off its first sweep of at least four games against the Rockies since July 15-17, 2019.
The Rockies lost their fifth in a row at home and were shut out for the 12th time this season.
Colorado right-hander José Ureña (3-7) was charged with two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
RANGERS 5, ANGELS 3
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Corey Seager hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning, sending Texas to the win.
Seager drove a 1-1 fastball from José Quijada (0-5) deep to left-center for his 32nd homer, extending his career best in his first season with Texas. Quijada came in to pitch the eighth and walked leadoff hitter Marcus Semien before Seager connected for his opposite-field shot.
Matt Moore (5-2) got three outs for the win, and Jose Leclerc handled the ninth for his seventh save in eight opportunities.
Angels star Shohei Ohtani was held out of the starting lineup, but he pinch-hit with one out in the ninth and doubled into the right-field corner. Luis Rengifo and Mike Trout then struck out swinging.