This afternoon it was a different story for the Padres’ lineup as they scored 10 runs off of the Brewers’ pitching staff by the top of the seventh inning. Despite the fact that San Diego sustained a bullpen-meltdown of sorts in the bottom of the seventh, their 10 runs proved to be enough for them to eek out a 10-8 win over Milwaukee.
The Padres came out of the gates hacking against Yovani Gallardo, and their strategy definitely paid off in the early innings. San Diego manufactured one run in the top of the first after Carlos Quentin hit a sacrifice fly which scored Everth Cabrera after the shortstop led off the inning with a single and a stolen base.
Cabrera then set the table again for more runs in the top of the third when he led off the inning with another single. Quentin then plated Cabrera and himself after he smacked a two-run home run to left-center field, and the Padres extended their lead to 3-0. Alexi Amarista continued the run barrage with a run-scoring single with two outs which pushed the Friars’ lead to 4-0.
San Diego’s lineup finally administered the knock-out blow to Gallardo when Yonder Alonso hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in the top of the fourth. Milwaukee’s starter was removed from the game after that single, and the Brewers found themselves in a 6-0 hole.
Like his counterpart Gallardo, Edinson Volquez got himself into trouble in the early portion of the game. Unlike Gallardo though, San Diego’s starter worked his way out of his jams unscathed. Volquez put two Brewers on base in the second and third innings, but he did not allow a single run in either frame.
A solo home run off of the bat of Yuniesky Betancourt appeared to be Volquez’s only “big mistake” on the afternoon. Yet since nobody was on base and the Friars were up 6-0, the dinger was of little concern.
Unfortunately for Volquez, issues with control sprang up in the bottom of the sixth when the Brewers tried to mount a rally. The right-hander surrendered a one-out solo home run to Carlos Gomez before he put the next two hitters on base.
Dale Thayer, who came on in relief, then gave up a single to Logan Schafer with the bases loaded and Milwaukee brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Rickie Weeks. Thankfully, Thayer induced a dribbler and San Diego’s reliever started a successful 1-2-3 double play. The groundout ended the inning, and the Padres came back with a vengeance in the top of the seventh.
With their lead cut to 6-3, San Diego’s hitters responded with a four-run explosion against Mike Gonzalez. Will Venable led off with a double and came around to score after a well-placed bunt by Amarista and a throwing error by Betancourt. Amarista then scored on a Rene Rivera single after he advanced to third base on two wild pitches by Gonzalez. Finally, Jesus Guzman extended the Friars’ lead to 10-3 after he tattooed a Gonzalez pitch to left-field for a two-run home run!
The Brewers however did not quit after San Diego’s offensive explosion, in fact that only seemed to inspire them. Luke Gregerson and Nick Vincent did piss-poor jobs on the mound in that inning while the Brewers scored five runs to cut the Friars’ lead to 10-8!
In no situation whatsoever should a bullpen allow a tying run to come to the plate in an inning in which begins with their team in front by seven runs. Then again, no lead has been safe with San Diego’s bullpen protecting it this year. To their credit though, Joe Thatcher, Tim Stauffer, and Huston Street each came through in big ways for the Friars this afternoon.
Thatcher finished off the seventh inning when he forced Norichika Aoki to line out to Venable in center field. I use the term “forced” loosely, because Venable made an absolutely incredible diving catch on the ball. Had it dropped, Milwaukee would have tied the game at 10-10!
Stauffer responded even stronger in the following inning when he retired the heart of Milwaukee’s order. Street, in another showing of consistency, came on and shut the door in the bottom of the ninth as he nailed down the 10-8 win for San Diego.
Bullpen blunders aside, it sure was nice to see the Padres win a series for the first time since late-June. Although the Brewers were without Ryan Braun, it was still promising to watch San Diego take three of four games on the road before they wrap up their current road-trip against the Diamondbacks this weekend.
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