But while throwing to Larry Walker during the third inning with the bases jammed, Peavy caught his spike in the dirt as he came down on his delivery and nearly tumbled to the ground. The 55-foot changeup skipped past catcher Ramon Hernandez, with the Cardinals' second run of the day scoring on the wild pitch.Bochy and Balsley said Peavy sustained the injury well before that incident, although Peavy noted that it began to feel worse at that juncture. Peavy said he hit his ribs on his thigh as he stumbled off the mound. "The longer I tried to stay out there, the worse it got," Peavy said. "I hit it in the third on something freaky like that. I knew it was pretty bad when I came out of the game. I was having trouble breathing. I was having trouble throwing the fastball." Earlier in the game, the right-hander showed no evidence of a problem. During the opening two innings, 18 of Peavy's first 20 pitches were strikes. "Jake has a tendency to catch his spike in the dirt when the mound is high and flat," Balsley said. "He does it sometimes when he pitches on the side. But I don't think that had anything to do with it." The probable loss of Peavy for the playoffs is complicated by the fact that the Padres decided to go with a 10-man pitching staff, at least for this series. Peavy could ultimately be replaced in the rotation by Brian Lawrence, who was relegated to a long-relief role, but he can't be replaced on the 25-man roster. Veteran right-hander Chan Ho Park was left off in lieu of third baseman Sean Burroughs. But Hutcheson said a lot of it will depend on how fast Peavy can recover. "It's a broken rib," Peavy said. "Maybe there are a lot of things we can do to make it feel a lot better. I'm going to take a few days off and maybe look at some of those options. We'll see how they make me feel. We're going to do everything we can do. Whether it does, I don't know." But Bochy is obviously planning for the rest of this series, at least, without Peavy. Bochy said Adam Eaton would now start Game 4 on Sunday in San Diego, if the series goes that far. He will reserve any decision about a pitcher for Game 5, if necessary, on Monday in St. Louis. "Let's get there first and we'll worry about that later," Bochy said. "But it was bad news [already] today not to have [Peavy] at 100 percent. He couldn't have been any more rested for this to have come up. He's had a few [shoulder] injuries during the season, but for this to happen now, it couldn't be worse news."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.