The man we call “Little Ninja” came over in a trade with the Angels back in 2012 along with Donn Roach in exchange for Ernesto Frieri. Frieri in Anaheim was able to harness his powerful repertoire that season and saved 23 games. The next year he saved 37. While the Padres were happy with the super-utility player they got in Amarista, many fans were upset that they gave up a closer for a guy to hit around .230 and simply play multiple positions with speed. Yet baseball has a funny way of paying out over time. You see, Frieri wasn’t able to hang onto a job after 2013 and is no longer in the major leagues. Amarista continued to be steady and filled in for the Padres last year at SS which didn’t work out overall, sothis year he was sent to AAA to start the season. He was recalled and immediately made his mark on the 2016 Padres season.
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Amarista squeeze bunted in the 7th after the Phillies had rallied to tie it to give the Padres the lead for good, and also paid dividends in the field for the Padres. Darin Ruf hit a shallow fly to left field and the third base umpire called the infield fly rule(Braves fans everywhere cringed that it was called after the controversial play in the one game playoff in 2012). However the ball fell in and Padres SS Alexei Ramirez threw to third base where Amarista was covering the base. He tagged the runner who had drifted off third base and because of that the Padres escaped out of the inning without further trouble. He ended up 1-2 with a walk and scored a run.
“When the ball bounced, I realized that the runner was coming, and I tagged him,” said Amarista. He was asked why he thought to tag the runner after he had already tagged the base and simply replied it was his instinct that guided him.
Wil Myers hit his second home run of the game and played left field while Brett Wallace got the start at first base. Andrew Cashner pitched 5 innings but faltered in the sixth as Brad Hand was brought in to try and get out of the inning with Cashner’s win in tact. Kevin Quackenbush got the final out of the inning and ended up getting the win as the Padres retook the lead in the 7th.
Carlos Villanueva, Brandon Maurer, and Fernando Rodney each through scoreless innings of relief to hold onto the 4-3 victory for the Padres. It was the first save for Rodney with the Padres this season and they improved to 3-4 on the season. It was a good victory for the Padres, as they need to win these series against lesser teams to have a chance in the NL West. Robbie Erlin gets his first start of the season tomorrow night in Philadelphia against Charlie Morton who got shelled in his first start.