Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
In baseball, a no-hitter doesn't come along very often and when it does, the pitcher is immortalized on a sacred list of other pitchers who have tied a record that can never be broken. The Padres have never had a pitcher on their roster pitch a no-hitter, the only team left in Major League Baseball with that distinction. Edinson Volquez came about as close as a pitcher could come to breaking that drought on Thursday evening.
Volquez gave up an infield single to Matt Downs of the Astros in the fourth inning, a check-swing dribbler past the mound that Volquez had his hand on for a moment but couldn't hold on to. He then made a one-run lead stand up for nine full innings as the Padres beat the Astros 1-0.
Edinson was satisfied with the one-hit, complete-game shut-out. "That was the first time in my career in the big leagues, so that was good," Volquez said of the complete game.
The Padres starting pitcher, who came to San Diego as part of the deal that sent Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds, gave his catcher much of the credit for his excellent command of his pitches. "I got to give some credit to [Yasmani] Grandal, he did a pretty good job. We were working on the same page tonight and that gave me more confidence."
When asked how close he was to nabbing the slow roller off of the bat of downs, Volquez grinned sheepishly and said, "I don't want to talk about it." But then he did. "I've got to keep working on my hands," he said. "It's part of the game."
The Padres run came in the bottom of the first inning. Alexi Amarista smacked a Lucas Harrell fastball into the left field corner for a double. Then Logan Forsythe singled Amarista home, and the Padres scored the only run of the game.
For his part, Astros starter Harrell pitched an excellent game, giving up only the run on four hits and a walk, while striking out six in seven innings. Volquez went the distance for the Padres giving up only the one hit with three walks and two strike-outs.
"It's an understatement to say it's a well-pitched game," Buddy Black said afterward. "Good stuff throughout. Maybe a couple of hiccups with a couple of walks, but [Volquez's] stuff was good, all three pitches. [The Astros] didn't hit many balls hard, [Volquez] was in command of the game. Those are tough games, because with the score 1-0, every pitch is critical."
In previous outings, Volquez had struggled somewhat with his pitch-count, and left the game earlier that both himself and Buddy Black would have liked. But Thursday, his pitch count was very manageable, and Volquez entered the ninth inning having thrown 103 total pitches.
When asked if there was any preconceived notion of pulling Volquez in the ninth inning based on giving up a walk or another hit, Black said, "No, I think I would have watched the inning, it depends on how that inning would have played out. If his command was losing him, if they hit a couple of balls hard, there's a ton of scenarios. I think the game would have told me."
Volquez didn't give Buddy the hassle of having to make that decision. In the ninth, Edinson got Jose Altuve on a fly ball, struck out Marwin Gonzalez, and then Scott Moore flied to center to end the game. "[Buddy] asked me what I got for the ninth, and I got two strike-outs and a fly ball. And after the game, he's like, 'Hey, you only got one strike out and two fly balls'," Volquez said in the clubhouse with a smile on his face.
Picky, picky, picky, these major league managers.
With the win, the Padres have now taken three straight and win the four-game series against the Astros. It's a good guess Buddy will be able to live with that.
Cameron Maybin remained out of the line-up for the second day in a row with a sore wrist. Buddy Black indicated before the game on Thursday that Maybin was not a candidate to go on the disabled list with the injury, hinting that Maybin would be day-to-day.
Buddy spoke to Andrew Cashner on Thursday regarding his progress concerning his strained right lat. "He's feeling much better. We'll continue to treat Cash, he's progressing along the timeline. Rick Stauffer, our physical therapist, and Todd Hutcheson, our athletic trainer, feel as though [Cashner] is on a good timeline. Really no news on when he's going to throw, going to play catch, or going to the bullpen. But we do know that he's feeling better and he's optimistic about a future return."
The Padres announced that Jeremy Hermida has been reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to AAA Tucson. To make a spot on the 40-man roster for Hermida, the Padres have designated pitcher Mark Hamburger for assignment. Hamburger was claimed by the Padres from the Texas Rangers on June 25th and spent his time with the Padres at AAA Tucson.
Beginning Friday, the Padres will entertain the Colorado Rockies for a three-game series. Friday evening will feature Jason Marquis (4-9, 5.59) for the Padres against the Rockies Drew Pomeranz (1-4, 5.59). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM PDST, and as usual can be seen on Fox Sports San Diego, and as always can be heard on XX 1090 AM. You folks with Time Warner or AT&T U-verse will all be out drinking anyway, just remember to call a cab if you've had too much and you can read all about it in the Reader website while you nurse your hangovers in the morning.
More like this:
- Braves Best Punchless Padres Again — Aug. 16, 2012
- Yonder Alonso Is Double Trouble As Padres Beat Astros — July 18, 2012
- Kotsay and Volquez Great Again, Padres Shut Out Brewers — May 2, 2012
- Volquez Brilliant, Kotsay Pushes Padres Past Nationals — April 27, 2012
- Volquez Gets Nod — April 1, 2012