The Pat Murphy era of Padres baseball was ushered in today as A.J. Preller announced before the ball game that Murph had been selected the new interim manager of the ball club for the remainder of the 2015 season. His first game at the helm did not go as planned, however, as the Friars lost to the A’s 6-5.
All looked good early on as Cash was throwing well, and the Friars got on the board first. Speaking of “first”, the run was the result of Austin Hedges’ first career home run. It was a hanging curve ball that he put over the left field fence, and he received a hero’s welcome after he crossed home and reached the dugout.
The fellas added another in the 4th when Upton lead off the inning with a single, and advanced to third on Middlebrooks’ single. With runners now on first and third and one out, Barmes placed a perfect safety squeeze bunt up the first base line. The timing and execution were flawless. With a left handed pitcher on the mound and a below average defender at first the chances of getting the run home and the runner at first into scoring position on the sac-bunt were high. If all goes well you can end up with an infield single due to the increased safe zone that the aforementioned defenders could not cover and confusion that could result amongst the defenders. Such was the case with Barmes’ perfect push bunt as it went for an infield single scoring the run. Although the next two batters struck out to prevent further damage, the strategy and execution by Barmes were perfect. 2-0 pads.
Things took a radical turn in the fifth though as Cashner started to falter and allowed a double followed by a two out walk to the number eight hitter for the A’s, which wass not the end of the world with the pitcher on deck. Unless you leave a pitch out over the plate that the pitcher can take a late swing on but still keep just inside the third base chalk line to score a run and keep the inning alive, which is what happened. An off speed pitch left on the inner half to the next batter resulted in a 2-run triple and the Pads all of a sudden found themselves trailing 3-2.
The offense answered back in the 5th. Actually Upton, Jr. answered as he almost single handedly created a run on his own. He reached on an error by the pitcher, the stole second. He then advanced to third on a ground out. With unexpected boldness he then attempted to steal home. Doable with his speed, and a left handed pitcher on the mound with his back to the runner and working out of the windup with a fairly slow delivery. Kazmir was alerted of the steal attempt and in his effort to rush his delivery home he balked so the run scored. Had he not balked it is likely that Upton, Jr. would not have made it safely. However, the surprising action caused the balk so the results were successful and the game was now tied 3-3.
That didn’t last long though as Cashner could not regroup after the shaky end to the previous inning, and allowed a lead off single then a home run to again put the Friars in the hole, now 5-3. He walked the next batter and Murphy had to go get him. Thayer worked out of the inning preventing any more damage.
The score remained 5-3 thanks to another scoreless inning by Thayer and a zero posted by Maurer. then in the 8th the Pads finally got to the A’s bullpen which came into the series with the league’s highest ERA. Upton, Jr. got things going again this time with a single. Alonso followed with a hit as well to get Upton, Jr. to third. Justin Upton then grounded into a double play with the A’s exchanging the two outs for the run. Down by a run Kemp then belted his third run of the season over the left field fence to tie the game 5-5. The fight has been in this club all year, and it showed itself once again in this comeback. It looked like the story book come from behind win for Murph’s first MLB managerial victory was in the works.
Kimbrel came on in the 9th to hold the game in check. He had not allowed an earned run in his last ten appearances. That streak ended today. It was walks that undid him. He walked the lead off man but Hedges gunned him down trying to steal to eliminate that threat. He struck out the next batter, but then with two outs again issued a free pass this time to the speedy lead off man Burns, who a pitch later swiped second successfully. Sogard then hit a grounder put the middle that Barmes did everything physically possible to knock down and keep on the infield to prevent the run from scoring, but he just couldn’t get to it and rolled through to give the A’s a 6-5 lead.
The Pads went down in order in the 9th all on strikeouts. Murph would have to wait another day to get that first win ball for the trophy room.
Hopefully it comes tomorrow with Despaigne on the mound against the same A’s, this time in OAK. First pitch will be fired at 7:05 and you know that Uncle Teddy and myself will look forward to having you join us for the call on the Mighty 1090.