5:15 a.m., July 27
Baseball is a game of what have you done for me lately. Your last four outings as a pitcher will be easily forgotten if you simply dazzle us tonight. This is what happens.
And on Monday, Edinson Volquez dazzled. That fastball had movement and he located it well, and the change-up should have been illegal to throw against the heat that broke wonderfully downward, just as he likes it.
And he has other pitches, too, imagine that. And the Padres looked good again and they beat the Pirates 3-1 and made it look easy.
Everth Cabrera doubled to start off the bottom of the first inning, and Will Venable drove in Cabrera to lift the Padres to an early lead. Venable made it all of the way to third base, thanks to a passed ball and Chase Headley grounding out, and after Carlos Quentin was hit by a pitch from Pirates starter Kevin Correia, Yasmani Grandal grounded out to plate Venable and the Padres led 2-0 after an inning.
And Volquez held well as the Padres added a run in the second inning. With one out, Cameron Maybin singled and Edinson Volquez laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Maybin to second base. Everth Cabrera hit an infield single, and the Padres had runners on first and third with two outs.
Will Venable then singled to right field, scoring Maybin. After two innings, the Padres led the Pirates 3-0.
Edinson Volquez continued to pitch well, but in the sixth inning the Pirates mounted an attack. Andrew McCutchen hit an infield single, and took second off of an errant throw by Padres third baseman Chase Headley.
After Garrett Jones grounded out and moved McCutchen to third base, Neil Walker singled McCutchen home and the Pirates cut the Padres lead to 3-1. But that was the end of the scoring.
Brad Brach relieved Volquez in the seventh inning with two outs, and Luke Gregerson held the eighth inning and Dale Thayer saved the game in the ninth, his seventh of the season spelling an injured Huston Street. The Padres have now won two straight, turning around a five-game losing streak prior to Sunday.
Edinson Volquez improved to 8-9 while Kevin Correia took the loss and fell to 9-8. The Pirates, who are in contention for a play-off berth, fell to 67-55 while the Padres climbed to 54-70.
As was widely anticipated, the Padres released shortstop Jason Bartlett on Monday. Bartlett signed with the Padres in 2011, and as much as some Padres fans thought negatively about the deal within a few months of it, hey, Bartlett had a couple of great years with the Rays, the contract was a very decent gamble on both sides. Good luck, Jason, heal the knee up and catch on somewhere, it wouldn't surprise us in the least if you had another year or two in you.
Tuesday, the Padres will send Jason Marquis (8-11, 5.30) to face A.J. Burnett (15-4, 3.54) of the Pirates. Game time is 7:05 PM PDST, XX 1090 AM for those radio folks and Fox Sports San Diego for those television junkies. Time Warner, Dish, and AT&T U-verse will probably offer tape-delayed track and field from Europe, and I will admit to admiring a certain female Russian high-jumper who wears knee-high socks, but it's still not enough to pry me away from a Padres game. Your mileage may vary.