SAN DIEGO — It was hard to tell what excited the Padres more--scoring 13 runs or getting a jump on their three-day vacation.
Most of the starters showered and vacated the clubhouse early, joining the fans trying to beat the traffic. The players are off until Wednesday, when they'll have an hourlong workout, then fly to Pittsburgh to launch the second half of the season.
But before leaving, the Padres ended the first half on a rousing note with a 13-6 victory over St. Louis before a Sunday afternoon crowd of 21,794 at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
Manager Steve Boros would like to think it's a forerunner of what lies ahead after the All-Star break.
"I hope there will be a carryover--we could surely use some timely hits, like we had today," Boros said.
It was the biggest offensive output by the Padres this season, eclipsing a 12-0 victory over the Dodgers last month.
The Padres pounded four Cardinal pitchers for 14 hits, including six doubles and a triple. They scored seven runs in the fourth--their biggest inning since last September--and came back with five more runs in the fifth.
Among the offensive highlights:
--Marvell Wynne had three RBIs on a single and two doubles.
--Steve Garvey had two hits, both singles, in the fourth inning.
--Kevin McReynolds, Tony Gwynn and Garvey each had two RBIs.
--Terry Kennedy had two hits, giving him five hits in his last six at-bats and raising his average to a season-high .273.
--The 13 runs were the most for the Padres since a 15-11 victory over Cincinnati here Sept. 5, 1984.
Boros knows it won't be this easy very often, but he is hopeful this is a sign of what is to come in the second half.
"I expect us to hit better the rest of the year," Boros said. "We've had a tendency to get in stretches where we only throw two runs on the board for several games. I don't know what brings that on.
"I don't look for us to throw four to six runs up there every game, but I think we can score enough to get a couple of win streaks. If we can hold on and avoid a losing streak--as we did in the first half--a couple of win streaks would put us in position to get 15 or 20 games over .500, take first place and hold it."
The Padres were aided in Sunday's output by the loose way the Cardinals threw the ball all over the diamond.
In the fourth, the Padres enjoyed their most productive inning of the year, amassing seven runs off St. Louis starter Tim Conroy.
The Padres collected their runs on two doubles (by Hoyt and Kevin McReynolds), two singles by Garvey, two throwing errors by St. Louis, a hit batter and a wild pitch.
St. Louis Manager Whitey Herzog, who has suffered numerous other embarrassments this year, was underwhelmed by the Padres' offense.
"If we could've made a couple of plays, we could've won or made it a heckuva game," he said.
Said Boros: "They helped us, but we helped ourselves, too. Once we got our foot in the door, we got some key hits."
The Padres scored five more runs an inning later against Ray Burris as Wynne doubled in a pair of runs and Gwynn doubled in two more.
Marring an otherwise easy afternoon for Hoyt were a two-run double by Mike LaValliere and a three-run pinch-hit homer by Clint Hurdle.
Hoyt worked six innings to earn his fifth victory. Rookie Bob Stoddard went the final three innings to get his first major league save.
Boros seemed as happy as his players to see the arrival of the All-Star break, which finds the Padres in third place, two games over .500.
"We've got a lot of people who need a break," Boros said, mindful that the schedule gets tougher, with 43 road games and only 31 home games remaining.
McReynolds, Garvey, Kennedy and Garry Templeton will benefit from a few days' rest, the manager said.
The only player who won't be watching Tuesday's All-Star game on TV is Gwynn, who is hitting .341 with 9 homers, 36 RBIs and 59 runs scored. He, too, could use some time off, according to Boros, but his performance doesn't permit it.
Gwynn, by the way, is improved over last year in every category. Last year at the break he was hitting .302, with 4 homers, 25 RBIs and 48 runs scored.
Gwynn is a given. What Boros has to face are questions about his pitching staff.
"I think the pieces are coming together, but some of the important pieces are not 100%," he said.
"We're hoping Ed Whitson will get sharper with a little more work and that Dave Dravecky will benefit from a 10-day rest between starts. We also hope Eric Show will come off the disabled list and throw the way he did the first six or seven weeks of the season. All those guys are important pieces of the puzzle."
But it wasn't an afternoon to waste time worrying. Not after a 13-run showing that had Boros dreaming of getting to 20 games over .500.
Herzog didn't seem to think it was an idle daydream by his managerial counterpart.
"I don't know who's going to win (the National League West), but the Padres have as good a chance as anybody," Herzog said. "It's a tough race to pick."