Stults, Amarista, Headley Star in Padres Win


Jul 4, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres third baseman Alexi Amarista (5) pumps his fist as he jogs toward home after hitting a solo home run during the third inning after the game at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

A funny thing happened on the way to the pitcher’s duel. After Eric Stults and Matt Cain got through 2.5 innings with nothing on the scoreboard, who should break up the scoreless tie but the Little Ninja, Alexi Amarista, with a bomb to right field [video] to put the San Diego Padres on top of the San Francisco Giants 1-0 in the bottom of the third. Amarista was playing shortstop in place of the injured Everth Cabrera.

One out later, Seth Smith stayed hot with a 2-out double, and Chase Headley got his second hit of the game, an RBI single to put the Friars up 2-0.

You may now continue with your previously scheduled pitcher’s duel.

Once again, the Padres managed to win while scoring in only one inning, as this one ended with that same 2-0 score.But when the pitching staff is chucking like they have been, that can be enough.

On this Fourth of July, Eric Stults manhandled the struggling Giants, who had lost 17-of-22 coming into the game, holding them to four hits and striking out six in seven shutout innings. After the two-run third, Cain matched Stults in putting goose eggs on the board until he left with the bases loaded in the 7th inning and one out. Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt induced a double-play grounder from Chris Denorfia to extinguish the threat. Denorfia pinch-hit for Smith, who has been the Padres’ best hitter by far this year. You’d think with the ink barely dry on Smith’s shiny new two-year contract, the team would let him hit against lefties in critical situations. But not today.

The Padres were 27-0 this season when leading after 7 innings. Make that 28-0. Joaquin Benoit and Huston Street faced the minimum six batters, slamming the door on the Giants and sealing the Padres’ fifth straight victory. Street is now 23-for-23 in save opportunities.

Stults picked up the win, and is now 3-11.

Headley roped the ball all day long, going 4-for-4. He has been the subject of numerous trade rumors recently, and there have been visiting scouts in the stands at recent games on the homestand. They had to like what they saw today.

The Padres have allowed a total of three runs during the 5-game winning streak. They have recorded two consecutive shutouts, and three in the last four games.

With the win, the Padres go to 39-47, and are now 8 games behind the Giants. Tomorrow’s matchup will feature Odrisamer Despaigne (2-0) pitching for the Padres against Tim Hudson (7-5) for the Giants. Game time is 4:15 PM.

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