Every win is something to savor…but there are some that are simply sweeter than others. Today’s 6-4 extra inning victory over the Braves was full of challenges, potential stumbling blocks, and opportunities to just say, “Forget it, this one just isn’t meant to be.” The boys fought through it all, though, and walked away the victors to split the series.
The action started early and in more ways than one. After retiring the first two batters Teheran got ahead of Kemp then hit him in the shoulder with a high and tight fastball. After the questionable cheap shot slide into Norris by Simmons on Tuesday, and Ross’ behind the back offering to Simmons yesterday it was understandably difficult for Kemp to think that it was one that just got away. He glared out at the mound, and appeared to exchange some words with the catcher Bethancourt before Teheran started to approach, and it was on.
Kemp and Teheran tried to go at each other as the benches cleared. The home plate umpire immediately grabbed Kemp and in doing so Matt ended going down to the ground hard. It was scary for a second, but he got back up rearing to get back into the scuffle as the bullpens finally reached the foray. No punches were thrown and order was eventually restored, with Kemp on first and Teheran rattled. He promptly walked Alonso to put Kemp into scoring position. Norris followed with a single and the Pads were on the board with the last laugh of the inning.
The lead vanished almost instantly, though, as Cashner walked the second batter he faced then gave up a double to Freeman. Poof…game tied 1-1. And that’s the way it stayed as Cash and Teheran both settled back in and matched zero for zero all the way until the bottom of the 6th. It was Freeman once again doing the damage, this time with an opposite field home run to put the Braves on top 2-1, but the fun was just beginning.
Cash went back out for the 7th and gave up back to back infield singles. Teheran successfully sacrificed them to second and third. Former Padre, Jace Peterson, was next and swung awkwardly at a pitch outside chopping the ball on top of the plate in such a way that it bounced right back up and hit his bat a second time before squibbling towards first base. Foul ball for hitting the bat twice right? Wrong. None of the umpires apparently heard the double contact nor saw the ball move in two different directions before entering the field of play, and the play stood as a base hit with another run crossing and the runner on second now standing on third. Buddy was on the home plate umpire like white on rice but he couldn’t get him, nor any of the other umpires around the diamond he challenged to see the light before he was ejected. A sacrifice fly later and the Braves were in the drivers seat heading to the 8th 4-1.
Time to pack it in on a hot, long, sticky day and board the plane to S.D. right? They were thrown at, ripped off by the umpires, and down by three having been essentially shut down the previous seven. Yep…easy one to cut your losses on. Save it for tomorrow. Some days it’s just not meant to be…for some teams.
This Friar club has had its various challenges in the early part of this season, but character has not been one of them. They never quit, and that tenacity had already earned them two come from behind victories on the road trip. What was wrong with going for a third?
Amarista provided the spark with a single to lead off the 8th. Solarte followed with another single, and Myers walked to load the bases. A wild pitch later and the Pads were now down by two with the tying run on second and J. Upton at the plate. J-Up walked to reload the bases. Alonso worked yet another walk forcing in a run and the deficit was cut to one. There’s a saying that good luck is the residue of hard work. The work had been put in for the inning and now it was time for the luck – a catcher’s interference call on a Spangenberg swing that sent him to first base and plated the tying run. The comeback was complete! The job was not though.
Benoit threw a scoreless 8th. Maurer pitched over an error to post a zero in the 9th. Thayer worked out of jam in the 10th to keep the game tied 4-4 into the 11th. Norris started the inning with a walk. Spangenberg bunted and again some hard work residue showed up as the ball bounded over the head of the pitcher who was properly charging, and the Friars had the go ahead run in scoring position. Amarista singled to center field but with the outfield was playing shallow and Hoffman had to hold Spangenberg at 3rd to keep the bases loaded. The stage was set for some more heroics with Solarte on his way to the plate. Yangervis had already singled previously in the big comeback 8th, and rose to the occasion once again with a 2-run single to left to put the Friars on top 6-4.
Kimbrel came on to lock down the hard fought victory against his former club and blew them away with 98 MPH heaters. The last two outs were on punch outs to put an exclamation point on the dramatic come from behind win that secured a winning road trip and a Hoffman happy flight home for the fellas.
No rest for the Friars as they get it on again tomorrow against the Dodgers. Despaigne will get the ball for the series opener with the first pitch to be fired at 7:10. Uncle Teddy and I will look forward to bringing you all the action on the Mighty 1090.