Sometimes things get a little fuzzy while coping with a losing streak. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you might have missed while you were drinking.
Mired in a four game losing streak, the Padres looked for encouragement. Perhaps they found some from a large contingent of United States Marines. More likely they trusted in the right arm of Brendan Morrow (1-0, 2.67). Behind seven innings of 5-hit ball, San Diego ended their skid, defeating Scott Baker (0-1, 3.86) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (11-7) 3-1. Coupled with a Rockies loss, the Padres moved back into a tie for second in the NL West.
San Diego (11-9) will continue the home stand tomorrow when they welcome in the Houston Astros (11-7) for a 3-game set. You might not have noticed, because they’ve been horrible for years, but Houston currently leads the AL West. James Shields (2-0, 3.24 ERA, 3.47 FIP) will square off against Collin McHugh (3-0, 2.41 ERA, 1.74 FIP)
Today’s first inning was the most exciting of the game. Jimmy Rollins ensured there would be no no-hitter for the 7,349th time with a single to center on the game’s sixth pitch. After Andre Ethier flied to left, Rollins broke for second on a 3-2 pitch to Adrian Gonzalez. He struck out; Rollins was thrown out 2-6. Thankyouverymuch.
In the home half, Yangervis Solarte was rewarded with a walk after a 10-pitch duel with Dodger starter (and recent call-up) Baker. Matt Kemp lined Baker’s next pitch into right center, sending Solarte to third. Glenn Hoffman, feeling aggressive, sent Solarte home; he was out by 20 feet (8-4-2). The Padres can hit now, Glenn; maybe hold him there with Justin Upton due and one out? Kemp eventually advanced to third on a wild pitch, but was left when Upton struck out.
From there, it became a battle of the long ball. Alexi Amarista opened the HR Derby with a 398′ shot to right, staking the Padres to a 1-0 third-inning lead. Kemp walked leading off the fourth, stole second, which became important when Yonder Alonso grounded to first; instead of a 3-6-1 double play, it was a routine 3-1 putout that allowed Kemp to take third. Derek Norris‘ double to left sent Kemp home.
LA returned long-ball fire in the fifth, on Alex Guerrero‘s fifth home run of the season (in only 23 at bats, mind you; he might be OK). But that was all the LA offense would muster. They did not advance a runner to second after the HR. In the sixth, Ethier led off with a single, but Gonzalez bounced into a 4-6-3 twin killing to end the minor threat. Norris capped the scoring when he homered to left with one out in the seventh.
Brandon Morrow Stops Padres’ Skid – Jeff Sanders (SDUT)
Morrow pitches Padres past Dodgers in series finale – Ken Gurnick/Tim Powers (MLB)
Rookie Guerrero homers in 3-1 Dodgers loss to Padres – Bernie Wilson (AP)
“We all know Alexi is a hard-nosed player and he’s on every pitch. That was a big at-bat and it loosened up the dugout a little bit. These games against the Dodgers, a lot of it is momentum. That was a really big at-bat by one of our guys who fights in every at-bat.” — Padres manager Bud Black on Amarista’s solo home run (Gurnick/Powers)
43,256 attended Sunday’s game, bringing the 3-game total to 130,765. The Padres announced it as the third-largest total to see a 3-game series in San Diego. The largest saw the Yankees play three in 2002 (165,929). Rumor has it the second-largest was the Red Sox series in 2007 (133,311). That would make this weekend the largest to see a NL opponent.
Ed. Note – updated with player links to Baseball Reference.