Like every other game of this 10 game road trip today’s contest was a close one, and in this case was on the line down to the final pitch. Fortunately the Friars hung on and beat the Rangers 2-1, to take the series and go into the All-Star break on a winning note.
The offense gave Tyson Ross some early run support thanks to a hustle triple by Venable. Will hit a hard shot that glanced off the glove of the first baseman, and rolled into right field. When both the second baseman and right fielder lolly gagged (yes, they were lolly gaggers!) to get to the ball, Will hustled his butt around second and made it to third on what was ultimately ruled a triple. Will then scored on a ground ball to second as he out ran the throw home to put the Pads up 1-0.
Ross for his part was outstanding today from his first pitch to his last. He punched out six and allowed only three hits over his 6 2/3 inning of scoreless work. He pitched over a lead off double in the 4th, but other than that there was no real threat until the 6th. He allowed a one out double, then retired the next batter before Murphy went out to get him. It was a excellent overall effort with every pitch being delivered with the game on the line, on a 97 degree humid day. Maurer came in to get the last out of the inning to preserve the 1-0 lead.
Gyorko continued his productive performance at the plate since returning from El Paso and drove in a second Padres run of the game in the 7th with an RBI single to score Upton and put the Pads up 2-0.. It was only an insurance run a the time, but would prove to be crucial before it was all said and done.
Benoit came on in the 8th and found himself in trouble from the first batter as he issued lead off walk. He retired the next two batters, but when he allowed another single to put runners at first and third Murph brought in the big gun to quell the rebellion. It was the first time Kimbrel would be asked to get a multi inning save, and he did his join the 8th getting the final out to preserve the 2 run lead.
The 9th was a slightly different story, though. He retired the first batter, then allowed a single before the second out was recorded. The next two batter both singled to score a run and put the go ahead run on base. He quickly got ahead 0-2 on the next batter who then worked the count to 2-2 and fouled off three tough pitches. Craig finally got him to chase over a curve ball down to record the final out, and his 23rd save of the season.
Now it’s time to rest for everyone, except Justin Upton who will represent the Pads at the midsummer classic. We’ll check back in on Friday the 17th when the second half starts with the Pads hosting the Rockies. Enjoy the break, and let’s all hope the back half of the season goes a bit more smoothly than the front. Have fun everybody!