It took 10 innings but the Padres gutted it out tonight and took game two from the Angels 4-0 to even the series at one a piece. As opposed to last night when the Friars didn’t do the little things in the loss, tonight they played solid ball all around to outlast the Halos for the much needed victory.
Despaigne started on the hill for the Pads and picked up where he left off in last outing – looking sharp. After allowing a 2-run HR in the first inning of his last outing against the Cubs he then settled down to throw 6 innings of scoreless, 5-hit ball, and that’s exactly what he did again tonight. His fastball command, which is paramount to his success, was there more often than not from the first batter he faced until his last. He complimented his heater with mostly curveballs along with a few sliders and changeups to hold the Angels scoreless on 5 hits through the 6th.
There were a couple of hard hit balls, but the Padres defense saved him from damage every time. In the first it was Solarte’s snare of a rocket off the bat of Freese that ended the threat. In the next inning Middlebrooks started a nifty double play on a deep chopper to his right, but the best play came in the 3rd. With a runner on base Trout drove a ball to dead center field that forced Venable to turn with his back to home plate and make a bee line to the wall. At the last second before hitting the wall Will timed his jump perfectly to leap up over the fence and catch the ball to rob Trout of a 2-run HR and keep the game tied. It was one of the most athletic and graceful HR robbing catches made by a Padres player in my recent memory and truly a game saver.
While the pitching and defense played up to and maybe even beyond expectations tonight the offense continued its struggles. Shoemaker, the Angels starter, made quick work of the Pads until the 4th when they were able to load the bases off him. Unable to deliver the killer blow, though, they let him escape with little further pressure through his seven scoreless innings.
They did get a rally going in the 8th, but with two runners on Kemp struck out looking on a pitch well out of the zone. Given his recent struggles, along with the timing and awfulness of the call he could have very easily erupted and thus likely getting himself rejected from the game. Although clearly and understandably upset, he refrained from directing his ire towards the umpire and after he flipped his bat and helmet towards the dugout went out to his position in right, still in the contest to maybe get another shot to help the team later in the game.
Maurer, Benoit, Garces, and Thayer all contributed out of the ‘pen to keep the Halos offense at bay into the 10th. For only the second time all game the lead off man reached base safely for the Friars as Gyorko lead off the inning with a single. Amarista sacrificed him to second, then Solarte and Venable walked to load the bases for Upton. It was just what the Pads wanted and the reason Buddy had moved him up in the order to the 3 spot for the first time all year to get an opportunity just like this to drive in crucial runs. He couldn’t come through, though, and the struggling Kemp would be the Pads 2-out hope. A hard sinker was delivered down and in to him and he promptly dropped the head of his bat on it lining a double into the left field corner to clear the bases. It was a HUGE hit for Kemp and the Pads, and a just reward for the composure he exercised after the previous unjust ring up. Norris followed with a single to drive in Kemp and the Fathers lead 4-0.
Kimbrel was called upon to close it out, and did so striking out the last batter on a 99 MPH heater to lock down the win. Good win for the fellas and hopefully the spark needed to get them going on a nice roll.
Cashner’s turn tomorrow to try to win the series and complete a .500 road trip. First pitch is at 7:05, and Uncle Teddy and I will look forward to you being with us for the action on the Mighty 1090.
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