As a Padres fan, let me just say that the final two innings of tonight’s game were downright fantastic to watch.
A solo dinger in the top of the ninth by Jason Bay gave Seattle a 2-1 lead, and it appeared that all was lost for San Diego. Yet Friars were undeterred as they tied the game in the bottom of the ninth at 2-2 and won the game 3-2 on a Will Venable single in the bottom of the tenth!
Before I go on, let me just say that Eric Stults did a tremendous job on the mound for the Friars tonight as he allowed only one run over eight innings of work. While those stats were impressive enough, Stults struck out 12 batters and did not allow a walk on the evening! Unfortunately, because the Padres failed to hit Joe Saunders with any consistency (seven innings, one run and four hits allowed), San Diego’s veteran left-hander was saddled with a “no-decision” for his efforts.
Everything started well for the Padres as Chase Headley smashed a solo home run in the bottom of the first to give his team an early 1-0 lead. But over the next seven innings, San Diego was held scoreless and the Mariners tied the game in the top of the fourth on an rbi groundout by Kendrys Morales. After the Morales groundout, the game stayed tied until the bottom of the eight until it appeared that the Padres were primed to take the lead.
San Diego really blew a chance to break the game wide-open, and it came in the bottom of the eighth. Sadly, the top half of the Friar’s batting order could not capitalize on a bases loaded, one-out situation as Everth Cabrera and Headley failed to knock in a single run and give their team the lead.
To their credit, the Padres found a way to capitalize on some mistakes by Mariner closer Tom Wilhelmsen in the bottom of the ninth as they scratched the tying run across on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Blanks. San Diego’s hitters failed to plate the winning-run later in the inning and the game went into extras.
After Luke Gregerson made quick work of Seattle’s hitters in the top of the frame, the stage was set for the Padres to put the finishing touches their victory.
Chris Denorfia led off the bottom of the tenth with a single, his third hit of the game, and Cabrera followed up the single with one of his own which advanced “Deno” to third. Yoervis Medina then intentionally walked Headley to set the stage for Venable who slammed the door shut with a single!
While the Mariners are not what one would call a “juggernaut,” it was nevertheless awesome to see how deep the Padres dug tonight when their backs were against the wall. Down by one run and then tied, the team’s hitters came alive when it mattered most to secure themselves a victory.
I’m still a bit in shock that the Padres were able to rebound so quickly from the Bay home run, but I am downright happy to see that these Padres have some mental toughness to them.