The Padres came out playing hard, as if all the talk of firing managers, GMs, hitting coaches, and players had lit a fire under them. Four of the first seven hitters reached base against the Mets’ Bartolo Colon. Hitters were running hard on easy grounders to the infield. They attempted a double-steal. And Rene Rivera hit a bomb into the left field seats, staking the Padres to a 2-0 lead. Had the team finally found the motivation it needed to get its offense going?
Colon retired 18 hitters in a row after Rivera’s home run. The Padres finished with 5 hits, the ninth time in 11 games this month in which they have gotten five or fewer hits. Final score: Mets 6 Padres 2.
A two-hour rain delay before the game started may have affected Padres’ starter Andrew Cashner. Cash did not look anywhere near as sharp as he did when pitching six shutout innings last weekend, allowing 4 runs, on 8 hits, and 2 walks, in six innings this time. 40-year-old Bobby Abreu did much of the damage to Cashner, collecting two singles and a double in 3 ABs, scoring two runs and driving in one against the Padres’ ace. Abreu added another RBI single later in the game.
The game started off promising, with Will Venable working a lead-off walk and Everth Cabrera following with a single. After a Seth Smith fly ball, Carlos Quentin came to the plate. On the 1-1 pitch, Venable and Cabrera were running, attempting a double steal. On the same pitch, Quentin lofted an easy fly ball to left for the second out. If he had taken that pitch, and the steals were successful, a fly ball on the NEXT pitch would have scored a run. Venable slid headfirst into third as the fly ball was in the air, so this was clearly not a hit-and-run. Venable had no thought about watching to see if a batted ball was a hit, so we can only assume that there were some crossed signals. Teams that hit .216 don’t have the luxury of having crossed signals that potentially cost runs.
With the runners back on first and second with two outs, Chase Headley flied out to end the inning.
In the second, Yonder Alonso led off with a single, and Rivera blasted his shot into the seats. And then Colon settled in. After throwing 47 pitches in the first two innings, it only took him 59 pitches to get through the next five innings. He left after 7.1 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk, striking out 7.
The Mets started their scoring in the second. After Bobby Abreu’s leadoff double, Cashner nearly avoided damage by retiring Chris Young and Lucas Duda. But then Taylor Teagarden got his 98th career hit in his seventh season, lining a fat Cashner offering into RF and driving in Abreu.
Abreu played a hand in the Mets 2-run fourth inning, getting on board again with a 1-out single. Poor hobbled Carlos Quentin looked awkward retiring Chris Young on a liner to left. But the Mets must have been telling each other in the dugout “hit it to left field” after seeing that. Lucas Duda followed with a long shot to left center that Will Venable laid out on the warning track for, but couldn’t quite get to. Quentin retrieved the ball and made a weak throw in to the first cutoff man while Abreu scored on the play. Later in the inning, Matt den Dekker dropped a Texas leaguer that Quentin had no chance of getting to, which ended up bouncing into the stands for a ground rule double, scoring Duda and giving the Mets a 3-2 lead.
Cashner got a break in the fifth after allowing the two leadoff men to reach on a single and a walk. David Wright ripped a shot down the line that Chase Headley made a good diving stop on, ran to step on third for the force, and completed the double play with a strong throw to beat Wright at first.
The Padres seemed happy to finally get Colon out of the game. After Alexi Amarista led off the 8th with a double, they loaded the bases on two walks by reliever Josh Edgin, bringing up the Padres cleanup hitter, Carlos Quentin with a chance to tie the 6-2 game. Quentin, mired in a 1-for-31 slump, ended the threat with a weak grounder to short.
A Chase Headley double in the ninth completed the Padres hitting for the night. Five hits. Two runs. And a lot more talk about firing people tomorrow.