SAN DIEGO -- Things got so easy for the San Diego Padres on Monday night they spent the last few innings trying to make history.
Cameron Maybin hit a two-run homer, Will Venable had three RBI and the Padres handed the struggling St. Louis Cardinals an 11-3 loss.
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The Padres had 17 hits and scored more than one run in five different innings. They scored five runs in their last two at-bats to break open the game and give both Logan Forsythe and Maybin the opportunity to become the first player in franchise history to hit for the cycle.
Forsythe struck out in each of his last two at-bats, including in the eighth inning when he took such mighty cuts he nearly lifted himself off the ground -- and fell a home run short of the cycle.
"I got away from my approach and tried too hard to make something happen," Forsythe said. "I kind of had to try because it hadn't been done before."
San Diego and Miami are the only teams in the majors who have not had a player hit for the cycle. The Padres are also the only team to have not thrown a no-hitter.
The Padres were aware of it on the bench and were pulling for Forsythe and Maybin, who needed a double in his last at-bat in the eighth for the cycle. Maybin walked.
When someone told Forsythe he didn't get cheated on his swings in the eighth, he said, "No, but it cost me. I learned from it. I won't be doing that again. I tried once and that was good enough."
The loss dropped the Cardinals 9 ½ games behind first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central. The Reds beat Pittsburgh 4-3 in 14 innings. St. Louis, which has lost four of five, had its lead cut to one game over the idle Los Angeles Dodgers for the second NL wild-card berth.
"Ugly," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "We got a lead, quickly lost it, then couldn't get it stopped. We just had a rough time getting people out."
Maybin connected for his seventh homer off Jaime Garcia (4-7) that broke a 2-all tie in the fourth inning. Maybin scored three runs.
Chris Denorfia tied his career high with four hits and also had two RBI. Forsythe added three hits to tie his career high as San Diego matched its season best for runs.
"I liked the fact we had Garcia on the ropes in the first, even though he wiggled out of it," San Diego manager Bud Black said about the Padres loading the bases but not scoring.
"We kept putting the pressure on him and we had a lot of big, two-out hits," he added.
The loss started a crucial seven-game West Coast trip for the Cardinals, who begin a four-game set on Thursday night against the Dodgers.
Eric Stults (6-2) allowed three runs on five hits with five strikeouts and a walk in 5 1/3 innings. Stults is 5-0 in seven starts since rejoining the starting rotation on August 6.
Garcia got pulled after only three innings, giving up four runs on seven hits. The lefty struck out four, walked three and had two wild pitches.
"A bad one," Garcia said. "I didn't get the job done. I was just getting the ball up. They've got a good lineup."
San Diego has won 14 of 18 overall and 18 of 24 at home.
The Cardinals had cut the lead to 6-3 when they loaded the bases with one out in the seventh inning. But Dale Thayer, who came in and gave up a single to Carlos Beltran to load the bases, got Matt Holliday to ground into a double play.
Rookie Pete Kozma put the Cardinals ahead on a two-run triple with two outs in the second. Kozma finished with three hits.
Garcia is 1-5 with an 8.32 ERA in his last six road starts. ... Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn will start Thursday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lynn replaced RHP Jake Westbrook, who sustained a right oblique injury on Saturday. Matheny said the injury is not severe and said it looks as if Westbrook will pitch again this season. ... Padres closer Huston Street, on the DL since Aug. 11 (strained left calf) threw a simulated game. Black said the club will make a decision later in the week when Street will return. ... St. Louis 1B-OF Lance Berkman will have season-ending surgery on Tuesday on his ailing right knee. Berkman has just two homers and seven RBIs in 80 at-bats. .. Cardinals RHP Chris Carpenter threw around 70 pitches in a simulated game on Monday, keeping alive the hope he might pitch this season. Carpenter, 37, has not pitched because of a nerve condition in his right shoulder. ... St. Louis RHP Adam Wainwright (13-12, 4.04 ERA) faces San Diego RHP Edinson Volquez (9-10, 4.27) on Tuesday night.