Last night, it was the Padres who dug themselves in a 6-0 hole against the Cardinals. Tonight was a different story for San Diego altogether as their hitters staked their team a 4-0 lead by the time that the third inning finished. The early lead was thankfully enough for the Friars to work with as they held on for a 5-3 victory over St. Louis.
Although San Diego’s lineup has been unable to take advantage of their opposition’s mistakes and manufacture runs during the last three weeks, the Padres’ hitters definitely did all of those things during the game’s first three innings.
An opposite-field ground ball single by Jedd Gyorko gave the Friars a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. San Diego added a second run in the following inning after a sacrifice fly by Everth Cabrera plated Alexi Amarista. The Padres then put the finishing touches on a 4-0 lead in the top of the third after a wild pitch and “broken bat single” by Nick Hundley hurt the Cardinals with two outs in the frame.
The wild pitch in particular was shocking because the four-time Gold Glove Award-winner Yadier Molina “ole’d” a slider in the dirt by Lance Lynn instead of squaring up in front of the ball. Hundley’s “excuse me” saw-off job was just as shocking as it forced David Freese to rush his throw from the third base line. The poor throw in turn pulled Matt Adams off of first base, and Hundley was aboard safely.
The pesky Padres made life difficult for Lynn during his five innings of work, and the right-hander allowed four runs on six hits in addition to three walks before he was pulled.
To their credit, St. Louis’ lineup did their best to even the score against Edinson Volquez in the bottom of the fourth and bottom of the fifth. After they were unable to reach base in the first three innings, the Cardinals’ bats came alive in the bottom of the fourth after Edinson’s control got away from him. Allen Craig made Volquez pay when he laced a two-run single to center field, but San Diego’s starter stopped the bleeding when he promptly retired Molina and Adams to end the frame.
Volquez had his control escape him in the bottom of the fifth after two singles and his second wild pitch in as many innings led to a run scoring ground out by Brock Peterson. Kudos however must go to Edinson for bearing down to retire Matt Carpenter and Jon Jay as he kept San Diego’s then 4-3 lead intact.
The real heroes for the Friars tonight were the guys in their bullpen. I know that I have been less than thrilled with their collective performance this year, but those guys in particular came through in a big way this evening.
In fact, Nick Vincent, Dale Thayer, Joe Thatcher, and Huston Street combined to pitch four innings of no-hit baseball with the game very much in the balance. In fact, only two runners reached base against them during that span, and both did so on walks. Due to their efforts and an insanely important run-scoring double off of the bat of Carlos Quentin in the top of the ninth, the Padres were able to nail down their 5-3 victory.
Tomorrow morning, San Diego will have a chance to earn a series-victory over St. Louis. The task will not be easy, and Eric Stults must bring his “A Game” if he wishes to out-duel the fantastic Adam Wainwright. It was nice to see that there is still some life in the Friars after their recent difficult stretch of baseball. I just hope that tonight was less of a fluke and more of the norm for this team.
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