Make that four in a row for the Padres as they took down the Marlins tonight 5-3 to clinch the series win. They’ve now won 12 of their last 16, and climbed back into a tie for third place with the Diamondbacks 8 games behind the division leading Dodgers. They’ve also pulled to within 6 games of the second wild card spot with three teams ahead of them.
No dramatic come from behind heroics needed tonight. The Friars took control early and never let go. Solarte once again was in the mix of the scoring, this time ripping a double to right. Kemp’s single moved him to third, and Upton’s sac-fly scored him to give the Pads a 1-0 lead.
Two innings later the offense opened things up. Venable started it with a single. Solarte (yes him again!) then drove a triple into the gap in right to score Venable. Kemp’s sac-fly scored Yangervis to put the Pads up 3-0. The Fathers weren’t done yet though as Upton and Alonso followed with singles to set the stage for more damage. Norris came through with a double down the left field line that scored Upton. A misplay by the left fielder helped Alonso to score as well and the Friars were sitting on a 5-0 lead.
While the offense was taking care of business so was Despaigne. Using the same basic strategy that he employed in his previous outing agains the Fish he stayed aggressive with his fastball and mixed in the occasional curve and back door slider. It worked perfectly from the start as he retired 12 of the first 13 he faced. In the 5th he gave up three hits but all of them were ground balls so it wasn’t as though he was getting beat up. He made it through the inning and permitted only two runs to cross.
He finally started to run out of gas in the 7th, hitting the first batter and the second reaching on a single. Kelley came on to retire Hechavarria. Rzepczynski was then called up to make his Padres debut and successfully retired both batters he faced. A run scored in the process to cut the lead to 5-3, but the Pads were in the driver’s seat handing a lead to the back end of the bullpen in the 8th.
Benoit mowed them down in the 8th as he’s done so consistently to set Kimbrel up for the save for the second night in a row. Last night, of course, Kimbrel had his save streak broken. Key to being a great closer is to have an incredibly short memory. Yesterday means absolutely nothing to you good or bad. His memory was to be tested tonight with the game on the line once again, and the guy who got the best of him last night, Dietrich, due to come up as well. The bullet throwing right hander showed his metal once again and also why he is a great closer as he disposed of Dietrich and the other two batters he faced to lock down the victory and record his 31st save of the season.
Good solid win for the boys!
Tomorrow the Pads will go for the sweep and will have Shields on the mound to bring it home. First pitch will be a t 10:10 am (PDT), and Uncle Teddy and I will look forward to having you with us for all the action on the Mighty 1090!