After scoring 3 runs total over the previous 4 games combined, the bats came to life in grand fashion scoring 9 runs in the first two innings. Solarte got things started with a lead off double to force Dodger starter Frias to work out of the stretch right from the get go, where he has an OBP almost 170 points higher than out of the windup. Venable and Kemp then walked to load the bases. With the pressure on him early Frias left a cutter out over the plate to Upton who barreled it up perfectly to send it over the left field wall for his first grand slam as a Padre. It was his fourth career grand-salami, and his third lifetime against the Dodgers. 4-0 Friars after the 1st.
More damage came in the 2nd with Shields helping his own cause lining a single to start things off. Venable and Kemp followed suit, to set a loaded table for second time in as many innings for Upton. The team leader in RBIs cam through once again and added two more as he a double down the left field line. That brought Norris to the dish who singled in two more to make it an 8-0 Friar lead.
Shields knows exactly what to do with a big lead – pound the strike zone! It’s what he does anyway, and he executed his charge almost to perfection as he faced the minimum 9 through the first three innings., and would ultimately fire 19 first pitch strikes over his seven inning of work.
Middlebrooks homered in the 3rd, and Amarista drove in another with a sac-fly in the 5th to extend the lead to 11-0. Shields easily and efficiently shut the Dodgers down until the 7th when they finally touched him for three runs, but it was of little consequence as the game was already safely in the Padres hands. The offense answered with another run anyway to make it 11-3, and that was the final score with Thayer and Kelley recording the final nine outs.
Seven Padres finished up with multiple hits including Venable with four, and Spangeberg with three. Upton tied a personal high with 6 RBIs, and Norris added two to his lead amongst N.L. catchers. Both should be top candidates to represent the Padres in this year’s All-Star game.
Feast or famine it seems like for this offense, I know, I know. But it was great to be reminded of what we all suspect can be present on a more consistent basis, and hopefully it will be as the season moves forward.
Interleague play kicks in again tomorrow as the Padres take on the Angels. Ross gets the ball for the opener with the first pitch crossing the plate at 6:05. Can’t wait for you to join Ted Leitner and me for the call and all the action on the mIghty 1090.