The Cardinals’ Mike Matheny has the worst record for challenges by a manager this season, losing 15 of 20 official appeals. But he won a challenge he didn’t even make Thursday night as the Cardinals held on to beat the San Diego Padres, 4-3, before a sellout house of 45,126 at Busch Stadium.

After a potential third strike had gone against the Padres in a two-run Cardinals eighth, punctuated by pinch hitter Jon Jay’s double with the bases loaded, Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal had all sorts of trouble in the ninth before closing out his 36th save, tied for the league lead.

With the bases loaded and the Padres down two runs, pinch hitter Jake Goebbert singled to right, scoring Yasmani Grandal. Alexi Amarista aggressively was waved home by third-base coach Glenn Hoffman. Shane Robinson’s throw home was strong but was well up the third-base line and, fortunately for the Cardinals, took catcher A.J. Pierzynski more into Amarista although Pierzynski didn’t have much time to make a short-hop catch and apply a tag.

Pierzynski swiped Amarista as the latter tried to get around him and the Padres’ runner was called out by home-plate umpire Bob Davidson. Then, when Amarista dived for the plate, Pierzynski, not entirely sure he had heard Davidson’s call, tried to tag Amarista again. Amarista would have been safe on this tag.

After San Diego manager Bud Black filed an official challenge, the umpires took 4 minutes 9 seconds to debate with officials in New York before again calling Amarista out.

Black, having lost on a couple of other umpiring decisions, was booted and Rosenthal then walked Will Venable to reload the bases before fanning Tommy Medica to end the game.