Petco Park- San Diego, California
On what most would consider an ordinary day, the San Diego Padres defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 at beautiful Petco Park.
While some might look at the score and think this is just another win for the young Padres, those who actually watched the game witnessed one of the best pitching performances by a Padres starter in quite some time.
Meet Padre left-hander Eric Lauer. A 2016 draft pick out of Kent State, Lauer progressed quickly through the farm system and earned himself a promotion to the big league club in May of this season. Throughout the lifetime of his young big league career, Lauer has endured rookie struggles while also showing signs of promise.
On Tuesday night, however, he was nothing short of outstanding.
Lauer went 8 2/3 innings, striking out eight batters, allowing four hits, walking two, and coming one out away from a complete game shutout against a divisional rival before allowing a home run to Max Muncy. Lauer became the first Padres rookie to throw eight shutout innings since Clay Hensley in 2006 and just came short of being the first Padres pitcher to throw a complete game shutout since Luis Perdomo in 2016. Everything in the tool belt was working for Lauer, as he kept the Dodgers lineup off balance with his offspeed and showed some life with his fastball. Prior to this game, Lauer had never pitched more than six innings at the big league level.
While Eric Lauer himself was electric all night long, some credit should be given to the Padres defense and especially to Manuel Margot. Margot had himself a night defensively, covering all sorts of ground in the outfield and making a ton of plays that would keep the Dodgers from scoring.
The victory tonight marked the Padres 40th of the season and was without a doubt the most exciting one. A rookie dominated one of the best teams in all of baseball, while great defense was played behind him and the team provided more than one or two runs of support.
Stay tuned Padres fans, more moments like this are on their way.