Last Saturday’s Central Hurdles and Relays had an international flavour as German Julian Howard opened his 2017 season with a win in the long jump. Howard is here visiting his grandparents, but has kept in shape by training at the University of the West Indies in a group that includes 2015 World Championships triple jump finalist Shanieka Ricketts.”I’m actually more here for holidays,” he explained. “I’m trying to stay in shape.”Howard says he has really enjoyed training under the supervision of Coach Kerry Lee Ricketts.”The group is really nice. They welcomed me. (It’s a) very cheerful and good atmosphere.”For me, it was the perfect time and the perfect group to fit in,” Howard said.He has been enjoying the weather in Jamaica.”I really enjoy it, but it’s a tough situation for me, especially on a meet like today, waiting all the day in the sun,” said Howard. “I’m not used to it, but it was fun and I’m enjoying it and I wouldn’t trade or share with the coldness in Germany.”FIRST STEPWhen he goes home at the end of the month, his target will be to qualify for the German team to the European Indoor Championships. The first step will be to win in his hometown meet in Karlsruhe.Ricketts believes his visitor from Germany will reach his target.”He’s hit a PB, couple of PBs, here with us, with 11 strides,” the coach recounted. “Based on that, he should be really going into that championships in good form, in good nick.”Howard won last time with a distance of 8.03m – 1cm off his indoor personal best. That’s not far off his outdoor best of 8.07m. His winning distance at the Central Hurdles and Relays meet was 7.57m.
“But it’s not over. We’ve got a long way to go.’ Facing a team that won the West despite an 82-80 record, the Cardinals who led the majors with 100 wins opened an 8-0 cushion in the fifth inning against Peavy. He pitched with an injury that worsened in the third and was taken to a hospital after lasting only 4 1/3 innings. An MRI showed one broken rib on his right side and the possibility of a second break. A Padres spokesman said the injury would take four to six weeks to heal. “He felt something on his right side,’ manager Bruce Bochy said. “He said he felt it during the course of the game.’ Peavy thinks he might have bruised his ribs during a celebratory scrum on the field after the Padres clinched the NL West on Wednesday. He said the injury was probably worsened when he caught a spike on the rubber on a wild pitch in the third that didn’t even make it to the dirt. “I thought I had bruised ribs. I never imagined it would be this,’ Peavy said. “It’s weird. It’s been a little bothersome but it was nothing we thought would get in my way. “I knew it was pretty bad when I came out of the game.’ Even without Peavy, the pesky Padres weren’t done. They scored once in the seventh, added another run in the eighth and then got right back into it in the ninth. San Diego scored three times and loaded the bases with two outs before closer Jason Isringhausen struck out Ramon Hernandez. “We’re playing a tough team,’ Sanders said. “As you can see, they fought to the last out.’ Mark Mulder will oppose San Diego’s Pedro Astacio on Thursday in Game 2 of the best-of-five series. Jim Edmonds helped St. Louis with a home run, double and single. Eric Young had a pinch-hit homer in the eighth for San Diego and an RBI groundout in the ninth. Manager Tony La Russa’s team won for the fifth time in six NLDS openers. That includes a victory in 1996 when the Cardinals swept the Padres. The 37-year-old Sanders was on pace for the first 30-homer, 30-steal season of his career before missing 54 games after breaking his right leg in an outfield collision with Edmonds in mid-July. Sanders rediscovered his stroke in the final week of the regular season, driving in 10 runs in the last six games and homering three times in the final four. Against Peavy, Sanders had both of the key hits. His two-run single off the glove of diving first baseman Mark Sweeney put the Cardinals ahead 4-0 in the third, and his grand slam into the left-field seats on a 3-0 fastball chased Peavy in the fifth. Carpenter was 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA, the ace the Cardinals lacked in the playoffs last fall when they were swept in the World Series by the Red Sox. But he struggled in the final month, with a 9.14 ERA in his final four outings, and said he lost motivation after the Cardinals clinched the Central with two weeks to spare. “It feels nice to get zeros and get a win,’ Carpenter said. “You go out there to execute pitches and give your team a chance to win and I was able to do it all day.’ The Padres saw the dominant Carpenter again. He allowed only three singles while benefiting from three double plays from the team that led the majors. “Our key is to make him throw pitches and get him out of there,’ San Diego’s Ryan Klesko said. “He pitched himself out of a couple of jams.’ Carpenter’s biggest battle was with the weather. It was an unseasonably warm 84 degrees at game time and 86 when he experienced cramping in his right hand while warming up before the seventh. The Cardinals said dehydration caused the problem and took him out as a precaution. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ST. LOUIS — Reggie Sanders, Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals looked every bit like the best team in baseball even with a shaky ending. San Diego played as poorly as its record suggests for most of the day. And now, with ace pitcher Jake Peavy out for the postseason with a broken rib, the Padres might be overmatched. Sanders hit a grand slam and set an NL division series record with six RBIs, Carpenter pitched six scoreless innings before being pulled as a precaution and the Cardinals built a big lead and held off the Padres 8-5 Tuesday in Game 1. “It’s huge,’ Sanders said. “Let alone getting one RBI in a week, you get six in one day and especially under postseason pressure. It’s a great day.