Break out those brooms, Friars fans!
Earlier this afternoon, the Padres defeated the Braves 5-3 thanks to a solid outing by Edinson Volquez and a big first inning.
While he has been inconsistent all season long, Volquez pitched very well today. The right-hander scattered six hits and one run over seven innings as he kept the Braves’ strong lineup in check. Best of all though, Volquez stayed out of trouble enough and maintained his control throughout the game as he recorded nine strikeouts and only three walks.
The top of the Padres’ lineup jumped on Paul Maholm today and gave Volquez plenty of cushion to work with in the bottom of the first frame. Atlanta’s starter had some issues with control and walked in San Diego’s first run after he loaded the bases. The Friars then plated two more runs when Logan Forsythe, who enjoyed a terrific 2013 debut over the last three games, smacked a single up the middle.
In the bottom of the fifth, San Diego plated two much needed insurance runs to take a 5-1 lead. Everth Cabrera laced a one out single and then stole his 30th base of the season with Chris Denorfia at the plate. Not content to just knock Cabrera in, “Deno” slugged a two-run home run to left field off of Maholm! The blast was huge, especially because the Friars’ bullpen made things extremely interesting over the game’s final two innings.
The score remained 5-1 until Justin Upton slugged a solo home run in the top of the eighth off of Joe Thatcher. Then the Braves scored another with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on a Jordan Schafer single. Luckily, Nick Vincent finally put out the fire that Luke Gregerson and Tom Layne started earlier in the inning when he eventually struck out Upton (Justin) to end the game with guys on first and third.
San Diego’s bullpen is really missing Huston Street at the back end, and his replacements’ collective performance has been erratic at best since their regular closer went on the Disabled List. The fact that potential winning runs are even allowed to come up to the plate in an inning in which the Friars have a three-run cushion is a bit ridiculous. Thankfully, the Friars’ bullpen held tough enough to nail down the victory today.
Complaints about the bullpen aside, this was a huge sweep for San Diego. Not only did they win three games in a row and inch closer to the .500 mark (32-34), they proved that they could hang tough with one of the National League’s best teams.
On Friday, the Padres will begin a three-game series against another top National League team in the form of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night. So get excited, Padres fans!