Fresh off of their late-game win last night, the Friars took the field at 9:35 A.M. PT this morning to finish their two-game series against the Orioles. Despite the early start, San Diego’s offense exploded for 17 hits as they won by a score of 8-4.
The Friars started the scoring in the top of the second inning with some timely hitting by the bottom of their batting order. San Diego had runners at second and third after rookie Jedd Gyorko hit a single and Alexi Amarista blasted a ground-rule double before an unlikely player stepped up with two outs. John Baker, who received a spot –start today, laced a single which plated both Gyorko and Amarista to put the Padres ahead by a score of 2-0.
The “hit parade” continued for San Diego as they really got to Freddy Garcia during his less than four innings of work. Yes readers, it was the same Freddy Garcia who the Padres brought in for competition purposes during spring training. In fact, every single Padres starter recorded a least one hit today!
In the top of the fourth, Kyle Blanks crushed a solo home run and Amarista followed the scorcher with another double to right field. Everth Cabrera walked after a Baker fly-out, and Will Venable hit a double to score Amarista from second after Garcia left the game!
San Diego added on more insurance runs in the top of the sixth with a single by Carlos Quentin, a two-run home run by Amarista in the seventh, and a Cabrera single in the final frame.
Amarista’s jack was particularly impressive, especially because the “Little Ninja” smashed the ball to deep left-center. Make no mistake, Alexi is a short guy, but he sure can pack a wallop if he makes the type of solid contact he did today.
Jason Marquis (5-2) did not have his “best” stuff on the mound today, but credit must go to the veteran for pitching himself out of numerous sticky situations. Jason did not dominate Baltimore’s hitters today as he gave up seven hits and three walks during his five innings of work. Yet the veteran’s ability to perform “damage control” in the most crucial of situations was huge as he only allowed two solo home runs on the day.
Kudos must also go to the rest of San Diego’s bullpen for their collective performance over the final four frames too. Dale Thayer, Joe Thatcher, Anthony Bass and Huston Street allowed a grand total of two runs during the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings as they slammed the door on any hope of an Orioles comeback.
The Padres will head back to San Diego tomorrow for two difficult series in a row. Tomorrow the Padres begin a four-game set with the Washington Nationals, and on Monday they will tango with the Cardinals for another three.
Let’s just hope that the Friars can continue to play some solid baseball against these two National League juggernauts.