This is what we expected at the start of the year. Great pitching, good hitting, competitive ballclub.
Maybe it’s a little more than we expected. The Padres going deep three times in a game at Petco Park is a little more than we hoped for.
A day after the Padres started to dismantle their team after nearly 100 games of underperforming, they put together one of their most complete performances of the year. Led by All-Star Tyson Ross‘ brilliant seven shutout innings, the Friars defeated the Mets 6-0, tying the series at one game each.
Ross didn’t allow a hit during the first four innings. The first Mets’ safety was a dribbler down the third base line by Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud that hit the third base bag and jumped up into Chase Headley‘s hands. It was an odd little hit, but there was likely no way Headley could have made a play on it.
In the meantime, the Padres were hitting like they never heard of the first half of 2014. First baseman Yasmani Grandal started the fun with a 440-foot homer in the second inning off Mets starter Dillon Gee. Gee had only allowed six home runs in 63 innings this year, but gave up two in five innings of work today.
The Friars added two more in the third on a leadoff single by catcher Rene Rivera, a one-out knock by Alexi Amarista, and an RBI single by Headley. Amarista scored on an error on the throw by left fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, giving San Diego a 3-0 lead.
Solo home runs by Will Venable and Seth Smith leading off the fourth and sixth innings upped the Padres lead to 5-0. It was the first time the team hit three bombs in one game at Petco Park this year.
Ross hasn’t had many chances to pitch with a lead this year, but he’s been so consistent, it doesn’t seem to matter what the score is. Through the first six innings, he allowed only two hits, but he ran into a little trouble in the seventh. Approaching 100 pitches, Ross appeared to tire slightly, allowing two singles and a walk to load the bases. But Ross is maturing into a first-rate ace this season, and struck out Ruben Tejada to end the threat with no damage. Ross recorded all three outs in the seventh on strikeouts.
He finished his night with 7 IP, allowing four hits and three walks, striking out six, and, most importantly, not allowing a run. He has allowed a total of three runs in his last four starts, spanning 29 innings, for a 0.93 ERA in the month of July.
Alex Torres and his big hat came in to pitch the eighth and struck out the first two batters he faced. He was relieved after giving up a double to Daniel Murphy, but Kevin Quackenbush saved Torres’ ERA by retiring David Wright on a fly ball to right.
Headley led off the eighth with a double, his 20th hit in the month of July in 60 ABs, a .333 BA. After Seth Smith gave the crowd a thrill with a deep drive to CF that advanced Headley to third, Headley scampered home on a passed ball to score the Padres sixth and final run.
Blaine Boyer completed the shutout with a scoreless ninth.
This is what we’ve been hoping to see all year.