Rich Hill returns to Padres’ rotation to take on Cardinals

Rich Hill returns to Padres' rotation to take on Cardinals

Veteran left-hander Rich Hill has rejoined the San Diego Padres‘ rotation with Yu Darvish on the 15-day injured list because of elbow inflammation.

Hill will try to make the most of his second chance as a Padres starter beginning Wednesday when he faces the Cardinals in the finale of a three-game series in St. Louis.

The Padres won 4-1 on Monday and the Cardinals prevailed 6-5 in 10 innings on Tuesday.

After arriving from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a trade ahead of the deadline, Hill went 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance for San Diego.

In his last start, a 3-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at home on Aug. 17, Hill allowed those three runs on a two-run homer by Tommy Pham and a solo shot by Gabriel Moreno.

“I thought Rich pitched really good,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “Walks one guy, makes probably one bad pitch the entire game, ends up being two runs. Only gives up two hits in five innings. He pitched really well.

“It’s not like Rich pitched his way out of the rotation. He pitched well.”

Moreno’s homer traveled just 329 feet down the right field line and would have left just one big-league stadium besides Petco Park.

“Whether it should’ve went out or not, regardless, it went out,” Hill said. “It’s a frustrating loss, because this is a team we need to beat, and it’s crunch time. Again, it falls on me.”

Melvin skipped Hill in the last turn of the rotation, then reinserted him to replace the injured Darvish. The Padres summoned right-hander Matt Waldron from Triple-A El Paso to fill Darvish’s roster spot and serve in long relief.

Hill (7-13, 5.21 ERA) earned a 2-1 victory over the Cardinals on June 4 as a Pirate. He allowed the one run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings.

He is 5-2 with a 4.09 ERA in 11 career appearances (10 starts) against the Cardinals.

The Cardinals have lost 10 of their last 13 games. Starting pitcher Miles Mikolas (6-10, 4.66) will be looking for his first victory since July 17.

Mikolas suffered a 7-2 loss at Philadelphia in his last start, allowing five runs on eight hits in six innings on Friday.

“He was up more than he would’ve liked, and that led to some hard contact,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “The first couple runs on the ball down the third base line cost him, but I felt like he pounded the zone enough. But pitches were up and some of them got hit pretty hard.”

That key hit was Garrett Stubbs’ opposite-field, two-run double in the second. It rolled down the left field line with the infield shifted the other way.

“I made a few bad pitches,” Mikolas said. “They scored half their runs when I made a decent pitch full count and they hit a squibber down the line. I mean there’s not much you can do about that. There’s a few other pitches I’d like to have back.”

Mikolas is 2-2 with a 2.08 ERA in five starts against the Padres, his original team. He appeared in 27 games in relief for San Diego in 2012-13.

The Cardinals hope to have closer Ryan Helsley (forearm strain) back from the injured list for this game.

—Field Level Media

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