It wasn’t the day that the Padres organization has been waiting since it’s inception for, but it was a win. It wasn’t a perfect game, a no-hitter, or a shut-out. But it was a win.
That’s the mentality coming out of the Padres’ dugout after their walk-off 2-1 victory over the Mets at Petco, winning their first series after the All-Star Break.
Tied up at 1-1 in the ninth, skipper Bud Black opted for newly minted closer Joaquin Benoit, who replaces Huston Street in the closer role. Benoit pitched a 1-2-3 inning to preserve the tie with the Padres batters getting ready to hit.
Carlos Quentin pinch-hit to lead off the bottom of the ninth, and worked a free pass to first. Alexi Amarista hit a sacrifice bunt to third base in an attempt to move over pinch-runner Cameron Maybin to second base, but Mets pitcher Vic Black fumbled the ball, allowing both runners to reach safely. Chase Headley grounded into a double play, putting pressure on Seth Smith with two outs and a chance to win the series. Smith fought off a couple of breaking balls and scoffed at a pair of balls in the dirt, waiting for his pitch. He got a 90 mph fastball that he put in play, then beat the transfer to first base, securing the victory.
The game may have been won with timely hitting but the story was about the San Diego pitching. Odrisamer Despaigne got the start for the Padres, and breezed through the first few innings. Yasmani Grandal gave the Pads an early lead in the in bottom of the fourth when he raked a home run off of Mets starter Zach Wheeler. With a slim lead, Despaigne kept pitching, and he kept pitching well. Before you knew it he had made it through seven full innings without allowing a hit. The crowd quieted, the Friars on Base Twitter account patiently watched, making sure not to jinx it.
But apparently our work didn’t pay off, as Daniel Murphy doubled off Despaigne in the eighth inning, ending the quest to end the drought. David Wright singled to score Murphy and Despaigne had lost the shutout and the lead. Alex Torres and Kevin Quackenbush came in in relief, preventing any further runs, setting up the dramatic finish.