The first game of the series’ victories have not come easy for the Friars, but for the 6th time in 18 tries they took the opener. Ross pitched well, the boys swung the bats with authority, and even an hour long rain delay couldn’t dampen this energetic Padres 6-2 win over the Reds.
The offense, facing Moscot making his MLB debut, played it perfectly from the start. They patiently made the youngster work, and did not go after his better offerings at the knees or on the corners which would likely have been quick easy outs. Instead they allowed the adrenalin pumped right hander to throw pitches and eventually make mistakes on some that were overthrown. Norris worked a walk, then Upton singled up the middle to put some pressure on the kid. Kemp followed with another single the other way to load the bases. Alonso then put together a very disciplined at bat not going after some potential out pitches in the hitter’s count and ultimately worked a run scoring walk. Middlebrooks then drove in a second run with a sac-fly and the Pads were up 2-0.
Not only did they work the early lead, but they also forced Moscot to throw 37 pitches at over-amped max effort thus setting up the potential for more damage against him, as well as earning an early chance to go after the underbelly of the Reds bullpen. The Pads would indeed do more damage off Moscot thanks to long balls by both Venable and Middlebrooks before the bullpen took over after the 5th.
With the lead from the 1st Ross went out and posted zeros. He did allow a base runner in each of his first three innings, but worked out of it each time. The third inning escape required some defensive help from Norris who gunned down his 18th base runner of the season, and Kemp who made a fabulous diving play while running full speed in. He ended the play with several summersaults before finally slowing down enough to regain his feet underneath him.
Tyson finally had a 1-2-3 4th, but ran into trouble in the 5th. Ironically I thought he actually had his best slider in that 5th frame, but an infield single by Hamilton, and a well earned walk worked by Phillips set the stage for Votto who lined a 2-run single to left. To make it a 4-2 game.
The sixth inning brought another Padres rally, and Ohio rain. Spangenberg singled and Amarista followed with a double to score him before the skies opened. One hour and nine minutes later play was resumed with a 5-2 Friar lead. After the extended delay and with his pitch count fairly high Ross was pinch hit for when the action continued. It was an abbreviated effort but still good enough to be eligible for the win.
Norris added an insurance run in the 7th for the Friar’s third bomb of the night, and his third in the last six games to pad the lead to 6-2. Venable added some more to the Friar’s defensive highlight film with a headfirst diving play of his own in the 7th. In all fairness the Pads weren’t the only ones filling up the defensive highlight reels as Phillips made two of the better plays I’ve seen from a second baseman all year. In fact, his diving play of Middlebrooks’ grounder up the middle in the 8th that he then backhanded to second to start a double play was one of the most athletic and creative I’ve seen. Have to give credit to great baseball plays where it’s due.
Thayer, Maurer, Benoit, and Garces finished the final four scoreless innings, allowing only 1 hit between them. Another solid effort by the ‘pen.
The Pads have now won three in a row and seven of their last ten. With the win tonight they again reached the .500 mark, and with the Dodger’s loss tonight now find themselves 3.5 games back of the division leaders.
Cashner will get the ball tomorrow for the Pads. It would have originally been Despaigne’s turn but Buddy decided it would be better for Cash to stay on his normal five days rest, and for O.D. to get the extra rest provided by the team’s off day. First pitch is at 1:10 PST. Look forward to you joining Uncle Teddy and myself for the call on the Mighty 1090.