San Diego Padres: Tyson Ross, Eric Hosmer Keep Impressing

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 18: Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 18, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 18: Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 18, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The San Diego Padres rode a battling Tyson Ross and intuitive Eric Hosmer to a hard-fought, 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates last night.

While it was obvious that San Diego Padres pitcher Tyson Ross didn’t have his best command last night, especially toward the end of his outing, he battled through and kept the Pirates at bay after putting men on base and escaping more than once.

Ross began his night by walking Adam Frazier and Gregory Polanco to start the bottom of the first. Then, in true Tyson Ross-fashion, he got Corey Dickerson to ground into a double play, leaving Frazier on third with two down.

Josh Bell smoked a long fly ball to left field that Franchy Cordero possibly had a chance at, but that ball was shot out of a cannon and left Franchy twisted up. Frazier scored to give the Bucs a 1-0 lead, but it really could have been much worse.

Ross worked through the second inning perfectly and quite efficiently; he escaped the frame after just six pitches. In the third, Ross got into his own way again, walking Frazier with one out and giving up a single to Dickerson to bring him around, giving the Pirates a 2-0 lead.

San Diego Padres offense woke up when it needed to

The Padres tied things up in the top of the fourth after, guess who, Travis Jankowski led off the inning with a base hit to left. After Cory Spangenberg struck out, Eric Hosmer hit his fifteenth double of the season to bring home Jankowski.

Hosmer advanced to third when Cordero reached on Ivan Nova‘s strange catching error, then came home on Rafael Lopez‘ groundout in the next at-bat to even it up at two all.

Ross got back on the mound for the bottom half of the inning with no deficit and a new lease on this game. He didn’t let that opportunity slip away.

Ross got tough when he needed to

Tyson Ross retired Colin Moran and Elias Diaz to start the fourth, then Austin Meadows singled to right for his first MLB hit and immediately stole second base (really liked that move from the neophyte, by the way).

After intentionally walking Jordy Mercer, Ross induced a groundout from Bucs’ pitcher Ivan Nova to end the inning and leave both runners stranded. He then worked around a ground-rule double from Polanco in the fifth inning to strand another runner in scoring position in a tie game; huge.

Padres go ahead in the sixth, thanks to the Hosmer Effect

With two down in the top of the sixth inning, Eric Hosmer stretched a poke-shot down the third base line into a double (another wrinkle to Hosmer; gotta love that), and Franchy Cordero singled to bring him home in the Pads’ next turn at bat. Manufacturing runs is a beautiful thing.

It almost seems that when this team is playing confident baseball and find themselves in a tight spot or close game, that’s when Hosmer’s leadership skills really kick in. Taking that extra base directly affected not just the outcome of the game, it provided a spark in the San Diego dugout.

Cordero, after his misplay in the first inning and having lost a bit of his luster over the last couple of weeks at the plate, looked like he was going to get a hit to score Hosmer. He had determination written all over his face and practically seeping out of his pores. The Hosmer Effect.

Ross flexes his muscles one more time

Ross began the bottom of the sixth by hitting Moran with a 1-0 slider. Not a great start after taking the lead. He set down Diaz, then allowed another single to Austin Meadows (his first career multi-hit game, too).

So with two on and one out, up by one, Tyson Ross did what Tyson Ross has been doing virtually all season so far; he kicked into gear and got out of the jam. After getting Mercer to line out, he struck out David Freese (pinch-hitting for Ivan Nova) to Houdini the Pirates once again. Awesome.

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San Diego Padres’ bullpen sharp again

Kirby Yates pitched the seventh inning for the Friars. After putting two batters on base via a hit-by-pitch and a two-out walk, he got Moran swinging at a four-seamer to end the frame.

Craig Stammen came in to start the eighth and immediately retired the first two batters he faced.

Jordy Mercer then singled, followed by a Jose Osuna base hit, and then Stammen walked Frazier to load the bases.

This was certainly not the spot the Padres wanted to find themselves in.

Brad Hand came in to face Polanco and got him to ground out on a full count to end the threat heading into the ninth.

Corey Dickerson led off the bottom of the ninth with a double, but Hand was able to recover and struck out Josh Bell and Sean Rodriguez to bring up Elias Diaz with the tying run on second and two out. He induced a ground ball that Carlos Asuaje ate up and sent to Hosmer to end the game.

As per AJ Cassavell of, eighteen of the pitches that Brad Hand threw last night were sliders of the nearly-unhittable variety. Apparently, he was liking how the ball was coming out of his hand and played that to his advantage.

Next: Adam Cimber Has Been Dominant

Nice win, boys. Let’s keep this going. Splitting a road series with a first-place team would be precisely what the doctor ordered for this team. Taking three of four could do wonders for this team’s confidence moving forward in a tighter than expected NL West.