Jeff Smith 12:15 p.m., April 24
In facing Jeremy Hefner of the New York Mets on Saturday, it could be presumed that the San Diego Padres might have had an advantage seeing as how Hefner was in the Padres minor league organization last season before being dropped from the 40-man roster and claimed, a victim of too much young talent in the minors, perhaps. “Works both ways,” manager Buddy Black said before the game. “He knows our guys, too.”
As it turned out, maybe Jeremy Hefner knew the Padres better than anyone expected. In throwing one-run, five hits in six innings, Hefner helped to guide the Mets to a 6-2 victory over the Padres.
The first inning looked like business as usual for Padres starter Edinson Volquez (pictured), retiring the Mets easily. Jeremy Hefner did the same in retiring the first three Padres he faced.
In the top of the second inning, Edinson Volquez got himself into big trouble. After going full count on Ike Davis, Volquez tried to get a fastball by him and Davis smacked it into right field for a single. Davis then advanced to second base on a passed ball by Padres catcher John Baker.
Volquez then walked Daniel Murhpy and Mike Baxter to load the bases with no one out. After striking out Andres Torres, Volquez walked Josh Thole to force home Davis. After striking out Jeremy Hefner, Volquez walked Ruben Tejada for his second run given up on bases on balls, with Murphy scoring.
The Mets then broke it open wide. Jordany Valdespin hit a double to right field, scoring Baxter and Thole, with Tejada taking third. Buddy Black then pulled Edinson Volquez and put in Brad Boxberger to face David Wright, who struck out.
It was the shortest start of the season for Volquez, who threw 54 pitches in one and two-thirds innings. After an inning and a half, the Mets led the Padres 4-0.
The Padres got a run back in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Everth Cabrera hit an infield single and was sacrificed to second by Boxberger. Alexi Amarista then singled to right and Cabrera scored, narrowing the Mets lead to 4-1 after three innings.
In the top of the fifth inning, Cory Burns made his first major league appearance, pitching for the Padres in relief of Brad Boxberger. The first batter Burns faced was David Wright, who drew a walk. Ike Davis then grounded out with Wright advancing to second base.
After Daniel Murphy singled, putting Wright at third base, Burns walked Mike Baxter on four straight pitches to load the bases. Burns then struck out Andres Torres, and Cameron Maybin made a magnificent catch in deep center on a ball hit by Josh Thole to end the inning.
Burns went 1 and two-thirds innings giving up two hits and three walks while striking out two Mets hitters. Concerning getting himself into trouble and then getting himself out of it, Burns said, “It felt great when I got out of it. First couple of hitters my legs were a little weak, like everyone said they would be, so I just tried to battle through that, and as soon as I felt more comfortable I started making some pitches. In the second inning [I pitched], I made one mistake and gave up a single on it, but over all I was more comfortable in the end than in the beginning.”
The Mets struck again in the top of the seventh inning. With Alex Hinshaw on the mound for the Padres, Daniel Murphy doubled to left field, and then Mike Baxter drew a walk. Alex Torres then laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Murphy and Baxter to second and third base.
Josh Thole then grounded out into a fielder’s choice, scoring Murphy. The Mets increased their lead to 5-1 by the seventh inning stretch.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Mets continued to work on the Padres bullpen. With Brad Brach on the mound in relief, Ruben Tejada opened with a single to left field. Jordany Valdespin grounded out, moving Tejada to second base.
After David Wright went down on strikes for the second out in the frame, Ike Davis singled, plating Tejada. The Mets increased their lead over the Padres to 6-1.
Bobby Parnell entered to pitch the ninth inning for the Mets, and was greeted by a Chase Headley solo home run over the fence in center field. The homer was Headley’s fourteenth of the season.
After getting Carlos Quentin to ground out, Parnell gave up a double to Yonder Alonso, his twentieth. Then Parnell walked Cameron Maybin, which created a save opportunity, and Frank Francisco was brought in to pitch to John Baker, who grounded into a double play to end the game, the Mets beating the Padres 6-2.
Noteable for the Mets in Saturday’s game, Mike Baxter walked five consecutive times, tying a Mets franchise record. “You come to a major league game because you never know what you might see. Mike Baxter is selective and he’s got a good eye, he laid off some borderline pitches, and you saw him walk five times,” Buddy Black said after the game.
Black also said that he pulled Edinson Volquez in the second inning mainly because of some mechanical flaws in his delivery. Volquez added that he was having an issue with a blister on his thumb which affected his ability to throw an effective curveball and somewhat changed the movement on his fastball, but didn’t make that an issue in his overall performance. “Everybody can have one of those days when you pitch in the big leagues, I mean anyone,” Volquez said.
Before the game, manager Buddy Black announced the probable Padres starters for upcoming series against the Cubs beginning next week. Eric Stults will go Monday, Ross Ohlendorf starts Tuesday, and Clayton Richard takes the mound on Wednesday afternoon.
Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer continued a rehab assignment on Saturday, making the start for single-A Lake Elsinore Storm against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Throwing an estimated thirty pitches, Stauffer gave up two runs on three hits and a walk, striking out one batter.
The final Padres game of this series with the New York Mets is Sunday, first pitch at 1:05 PM PDST. The Mets will send Matt Harvey (1-1, 1.59) to face Jason Marquis (6-10, 5.54) of the Padres. All games are heard on radio XX 1090 AM and most games, including this one, can be watched on Fox Sports San Diego. Unless your cable provider doesn’t carry Fox Sports San Diego. Then either you come out to Petco Park, or pull up a bar stool at your favorite sports bar, or sit home and pout.