Petco Park- San Diego, California
The homestead wasn’t going in the Padres way. They had already lost all five games at Petco Park and were staring at a six-game losing streak.
Time and time again, the Padres had fallen behind early in games and were unable to stage a comeback as the offense failed to come through in clutch situations. Combine that with the struggles of multiple players, and it all equated to little hope in the series finale against the Cincinnati Reds.
As they had in every game in the homestead, the Padres fell behind early after Jose Iglesias’ hot shot ate up a drawn in Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop and allowed Matt Kemp to score from third base. The smash came off of Joey Lucchesi, who was looking to bounce back against the Red Legs after getting shelled for five runs in seven innings against the Colorado Rockies back on the 15th.
When the Padres fell behind during the losing streak, runs were scarce to come by but, in a four-run third inning, San Diego scored more runs than they had in any of their past five games. Austin Hedges got the scoring party started with a solo home run off of Reds starter Tyler Mahle, teeing off on a 2-1 fastball that jumped 108.6 MPH off his bat.
Tatis extended his hitting streak to ten games with a single to left field only to be erased on a stolen base attempt that was upheld after a lengthy review. Manny Margot replaced him at first base with a single of his own and moved to third base after a Manny Machado single to center field. Both Manny’s came around to score on a Wil Myers shot to left field that Kemp couldn’t snag on the warning track.
Narrowly misses the HR, but we'll take the double.
And the lead.
— FOX Sports San Diego (@FOXSportsSD) April 21, 2019
Eric Hosmer, who snapped a cold streak with a 3-for-4 game yesterday, capped the rally with a line drive double. With the four-run third inning, the Padres took their first lead of the entire series while Hosmer finished the series 5-for-17 with a home run. This series could be just the remedy to cure Hosmer of his hitting woes, backed up by the fact that his launch angle sits at 6.5 and has a hard-hit rate of 45%, much better than his numbers in 2018 when he had a -1.2 launch angle and a 38.2% hard-hit rate.
Now gifted with a lead, Lucchesi went to work at setting down the Red’s hitters. His use of the “churve” got 12 swings-and-misses and enticed the Red to hit six ground ball outs. Joey Fuego lasted 5.2 innings of one-run ball, only walking two Reds and fetching a season-high eight strikeouts. Lucchesi needed 92 pitches to get to the sixth inning and, after allowing a walk and a base hit, was lifted for Brad Wieck who promptly got a groundout from Jesse Winker on a 92 MPH fastball to escape the inning.
Some may be concerned about the amount of baseball buried in the dirt by Lucchesi, but a majority of those were churves that got either weak ground balls or swings-and-misses from the opposing hitters and is a staple of the Joey Lucchesi pitching strategy.
The long ball came into effect in the seventh inning, with Kyle Farmer leading the inning off with a solo shot off of Wieck. Craig Stammen was brought in with one out to bridge the gap to Kirby Yates, but he also allowed a solo dinger to Eugenio Suarez, who clubbed a sinker that didn’t sink enough into left field to bring the Red within a run.
The Red would never get that final run. Yates entered the game in the ninth and, after allowing a leadoff single to Derek Dietrich, struck out Tucker Barnhart and got Jose Peraza to ground into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.
San Diego avoided the sweep at home and now have an off day. They welcome the Seattle Mariners to Petco Park for a two-game series. Nick Margevicius will start the first game for the Padres.