The San Diego Padres stayed hot, downing the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 on Saturday night.
The Padres won their 7th game of the road trip behind solid pitching by Matt Strahm and timely hitting. Fernando Tatis Jr.and Eric Hosmer drove in two runs each, and Franmil Reyes put the Padres ahead for good with a tie-breaking home run. All of the Padres runs came with two outs.
The Padres looked to have their hands full against Kelly, with a team OPS of .682 against right-handers. Merrill Kelly came in with 14 strikeouts against two walks in 15 innings, and a 3.00 ERA. In contrast, Strahm went into the game with four strikeouts and five walks in nine innings, good for a 5.79 ERA.
The Padres entered the matchup with their leadoff hitters going 0-15. Manuel Margot broke that streak with a lead-off double. With one out, Manny Machado moved Margot to third with a bloop single into left-center field and took second on the throw. Eric Hosmer came to the plate hitting .400 (2-5) with two out and runners in scoring position, and he came through in the clutch once again, hitting a single to right driving in Margot and Machado.
Poor baserunning by Ian Kinsler and Austin Hedges erased a threat in the second. After Kinsler doubled, he was caught trying to advance to third on a fielder’s choice to short. As he was tagged out, Hedges rounded first, as was tagged out before he could get back. Strahm and Margot followed with singles before Reyes grounded out to end the inning.
In the third, Tatis followed a two-out double by Hosmer with his fourth home run of the season in just his 15th career game, something no other shortstop has done in baseball history at his age.
#Padres Fernando Tatis Jr. has four home runs through 15 career games. He is 20 years and 101 days old. No other shortstop in history has more than two home runs through 15 games played at his age.
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) April 14, 2019
Arizona threatened with two runners on base in each of the first three innings. Adam Jones led off the first with a double and Peralta was hit by a pitch, but both were stranded. Strahm struck out Adam Jones with runners on the corners in the second. In the third, he got Walker swinging and Escobar on a line out to center to leave runners on first and third again. Arizona was 0-8 with runners in scoring position.
Strahm did not have great velocity but threw his slider for strikes, and his change was effective. His fastball topped out at about 91, and his slider at 84-87. He threw nearly as many sliders as fastballs. He finally found his rhythm in the fourth inning, getting the Diamondbacks with two strikeouts and a groundout to catcher. He threw first-pitch strikes to only seven of the 21 hitters he faced but did not walk any.
The first walk of the game came with two outs in the top of the fifth. Hunter Renfroe worked the count full and fouled off two pitches before taking Kelly’s 89th pitch for ball four. Kelly finished with 95 pitches, striking out five. He had a first-pitch strike on only 12 of 23 batters.
Up 4-0, the Padres went to the bullpen in the sixth. Padres relievers entered the game with a 1.16 WHIP and 10.6K/9, having allowed only six runs and 12 hits in the sixth inning of the first 15 games this season. Gerardo Reyes, fresh off his major league debut last night, walked David Peralta to open the inning. Peralta reached base for the third time in the game after entering the game hitting .478 against the Padres with five singles and six doubles. Reyes would get Walker looking but give up a single to Eduardo Escobar on a good pitch out of the zone. With runners on the corners, Nick Ahmed singled to right, scoring Peralta and moving Escobar to third. Carson Kelly followed with a double which scored Escobar and ended Reyes’ second big league appearance. Right-hander Craig Stammen came on in relief against left-handed pinch hitter Ildemaro Vargas. A ground out to Kinsler at second scored Ahmed and advanced Kelly to third but an error by Tatis on a hard-hit ground ball by Jones tied up the game at 4-4.
Franmil Reyes broke the tie in the 7th with a two-out opposite field home run, his third home run of the year. The big right fielder made it look easy with a smooth swing on a breaking ball on the outside corner.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) April 14, 2019
Pinch-hitting for the pitcher in the third spot in the line-up, Jarrod Dyson drew a walk to open up the bottom of the seventh against Robert Stock. Dyson took second on a wild pitch, and Peralta walked on four pitches, his fourth time reaching base. Andy Green changed arms. Trey Wingenter immediately picked off Dyson, catching him in a rundown. Machado applied the tag and Peralta advanced to second. Christian Walker walked on a full count. Wingenter then plunked Escobar, loading the bases. Ahmed came to the plate and earned a full count by taking five pitches. Wingenter continued to bring his fastball, hitting 96 on the gun on the sixth pitch to Ahmed, who bounced sharply to Wingenter to start a 1-2-3 double play. The infield double play was only the Padres fourth of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time
Kirby Yates pitched the ninth for his ninth save of the year. He allowed a lead-off double to Ketel Marte but came back and struck out the side swinging. Yates now has 17 strikeouts and only three walks in 10 innings. The Padres used six relievers in an already depleted bullpen and unfortunately, they don’t have a day off until Wednesday.