Jim Eliason 5:35 p.m., March 6
Which team in Major League Baseball currently owns the longest current winning streak? Incredibly, it's the San Diego Padres. The Padres just swept the Arizona Diamondbacks and have now won five games in a row. Baseball is a crazy game.
The sweep marks the first time in franchise history that the Padres have taken every game in a series against Arizona at the Diamondback's home stadium. The Padres are now out of last place, one game ahead of the Colorado Rockies with a record of 33 wins and 50 losses.
On Tuesday, the Padres ran away with the game, causing the Diamondbacks to try and play catch-up. In the second inning with one out, Yasmani Grandal singled to right field and then Yonder Alonso homered to right on the first pitch he saw. After two innings, the Padres led 2-0.
The game was supposed to feature rookie pitchers Andrew Cashner for the Padres and Trevor Bauer of the Diamondbacks, both highly touted rookies. Unfortunately, Cashner left the game in the third inning with an injury, giving way to Ross Ohlendorf. Then in the top of the fourth inning, the Padres chased Bauer.
With one out, Cameron Maybin and Everth Cabrera singled, and then Ohlendorf reached on a fielding error by Bauer, scoring Maybin. Will Venable walked to load the bases, and Alexi Amarista singled to center, plating Cabrera and moving the runners ninety feet. When Chase Headley doubled, clearing the bases, that was all for Bauer and the anticipated pitching duel was irrelevant.
The Padres then led 7-0, and the Diamondbacks never could catch up. In the top of the fifth inning, Alonso doubled and then Maybin singled him home and the Padres led 8-0. Ohlendorf loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth on a walk and two singles and gave way to reliever Nick Vincent. After Vincent struck out Justin Upton, Jason Kubel hit a grand slam and the Padres lead was cut in half to 8-4 after five innings.
In the top of the eighth inning, with one out, Jesus Guzman pinch hit and homered to left and the Padres tacked on a run to make it 9-4. Luke Gregerson came on in relief in the bottom of the ninth inning and allowed a single to Justin Upton. With two outs, Paul Goldschmidt singled to right and drove in Upton, but that was all for the Diamondbacks and the Padres won, 9-5. Ohlendorf got the win to improve to 2-0, and Bauer got a loss in his first decision of the season.
Wednesday's victory wasn't so easy. Jason Marquis went for the Padres against Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks, and the Padres scored in the first inning when Chris Denorfia singled, and with one out, Chase Headley tripled to score Denorfia.
The Diamondbacks immediately came back in the bottom of the frame. Willie Bloomquist singled, and then Aaron Hill doubled, putting Bloomquist at third base. With one out, Jason Kubel homered and after an inning, the Diamondbacks took a 3-1 lead.
The Padres got one back in the top of the third inning, when with one out, Chris Denorfia singled to left, and after Alexi Amarista grounded out to force Denorfia at second, Chase Headley walked and Yonder Alonso singled to score Amarista.
In the fourth inning, the Padres tied the game at 3-3. Logan Forsythe singled, and with one out Everth Cabrera hit a ground ball to force Forsythe at second base. Marquis then helped his own cause by doubling home Cabrera. In the top of the seventh inning with two outs, Denorfia again singled and then stole second base, when Amarista drove home Denorfia, and the Padres led 4-3.
In the bottom of the seventh inning with one out, the Diamondbacks got even when Gerardo Parra pinch hit a single and then stole second base. Willie Bloomquist then singled home Parra and going in to the eighth inning the score was tied, 4-4.
The Padres went up for good in the top of the eighth inning. With two outs, Diamondbacks reliever David Hernandez hit Logan Forsythe with a pitch and then Yasmani Grandal pinch hit for John Baker and homered to center field, and the Padres led 6-4.
In the top of the ninth inning, the Padres added two more runs, when Denorfia doubled for his fourth hit of the game and then Amarista bunted to sacrifice Denorfia to third, but Denorfia wound up scoring on a throwing error by Diamondbacks reliever Brian Shaw and Amarista took second base. Yonder Alonso then doubled home Amarista and the Padres led 8-4 going into the ninth inning.
The Diamondbacks scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning, but couldn't catch the Padres, who sealed the sweep. The Padres concluded this road trip winning seven games and losing three.
On Wednesday, the Padres placed starting pitcher Andrew Cashner on the 15-day disabled list and recalled Brad Brach from AAA Tucson. Cashner has been diagnosed with a strained right latissimus dorsi muscle, and is scheduled for a MRI on Friday. The Padres will be careful with Cashner regardless of the results of the MRI, so even if the MRI shows no damage other than a strain, it is doubtful that Cashner would return before a few weeks.
The Padres announced on Thursday that they optioned pitcher Nick Vincent back down to AAA Tucson and have recalled pitcher Miles Mikolas. Mikolas is 1-1 with a 3.29 earned run average.
Thursday night the Padres are at home entertaining the Cincinnati Reds. In the off-season, the Padres and Reds completed a trade that brought Edinson Volquez to the Padres (along with Yasmani Grandal and two other players) and sent Matt Latos to the Reds. Tonight, Volquez and Latos will face each other, first pitch at 7:05 PM PDST. Television, the match-up will be seen on Fox Sports San Diego, unless you don't have Cox Cable or DirecTV, and you can then listen on radio XX 1090 AM or find a pal that isn't stuck with Time Warner, which apparently hates San Diego baseball.