Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
Both the Miami Marlins and the San Diego Padres - after going twelve innings on Friday night and using much of their respective pitching staffs - needed a lot from their starters on Saturday. Both clubs got just that, Miami with Mark Buehrle and San Diego with Clayton Richard. In the end, Buehrle got a little bit better execution from the Marlins' offense, and the Padres suffered their second straight loss, 4-1.
"These are the games that really kind of turn your momentum and separate winning teams from teams that don't do so well in the close games, and we just have to find a way to keep on grinding and to win these type of games," Richard said after the game.
But Clayton Richard might have been a little too hard on himself, his effort simply wasn't rewarded by his offense. Richard went seven innings plus two batters, giving up nine hits and three runs, but striking out seven and walking only one Marlins batter. A little bit more Padres offense might have changed Richard's self-analysis of his outing.
"I thought he was really good today," catcher Nick Hundley said in the clubhouse, post-game. "I thought he had a really good movement on his sinker, and when his sinker is on it makes it tough on [opposing hitters]."
When Richard did make a mistake, the Padres' defense covered for him early. In the first inning with two outs, Hanley Ramirez tried to turn a single into a double, and Jesus Guzman mowed him down on an excellent throw from left field. And in the fourth inning, right fielder Chris Denorfia caught Ramirez again, this time trying to take third after he singled and then Austin Kearns singled behind Ramirez.
The Marlins did get a run in the fourth after that, when Omar Infante doubled on a Richard fastball, driving in Kearns. The Marlins led the Padres, 1-0 after four innings.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Padres got even. With one out, Jesus Guzman doubled and then Chase Headley drove him in on a single to center field, and the game was tied. Headley took second base on the late throw home, but then Nick Hundley popped out and Yonder Alonso flied out to strand Headley in scoring position, and Buehrle escaped the inning without further damage.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Marlins offense executed well. Jose Reyes walked, and Emilio Bonifacio bunted perfectly, earning him a single. Clayton Richard then gave way to reliever Dale Thayer. Greg Dobbs pinch-hit for Austin Kearns and smacked a single into center field, scoring Reyes and putting Bonifacio at third base.
Omar Infante then hit a sacrifice fly to center field, plating Bonifacio, and the Marlins led 3-1. Catcher Nick Hundley then threw out Dobbs trying to steal second on a great throw to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Miles Mikolas, recently called up by the Padres from AAA Tucson, made his major league debut in the ninth inning and was promptly greeted by the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton with a home run to left field for some insurance by the Marlins. The Padres then went in order in the bottom of the ninth and Buehrle closed out a complete game for the Marlins, giving up only the one run on five hits and two walks, striking out three.
"Buehrle was outstanding. Cut the ball, he sank it, changed speeds, brought the curve ball into play. It was tantalizing, but he keeps the ball down, he changes speeds, he works both sides of the plate. This guy has been a very good pitcher for a number of years, and our guys haven't seen a lot of him," Padres manager Buddy Black said after the game.
After Saturday, while Padres batters might have not seen enough of Mark Buehrle, it's a good bet they've seen enough of him.
Padres closer Huston Street was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, with a "strained right lat." Buddy Black said pregame on Saturday that Street would not likely return to action until well after the 15 days, and that until Street's return that a number of relief pitchers were candidates to close depending on the situation.
Tim Stauffer will make one more rehab start in the minors before rejoining the big club so long as there are no setbacks. The start will either be with Lake Elsinore or with the AAA Tucson club, which will be in New Orleans at the time.
Carlos Quentin continues to rehab with AAA Tucson. No timeline quite yet for his return, but his bat seems to be ahead of his legs. Quentin is alternating between playing the outfield and being in the line-up at designated hitter.
The Padres called up reliever Miles Mikolas to offset Huston Street being placed on the disabled list, but since Mikolas wasn't on the Padres' 40-man roster, the corresponding move was to move infielder Logan Forsythe from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. "Yesterday was the first game that he played in extended spring [training]. I believe that the 60-days takes him to June 1st. Logan's going to need two and a half to three weeks to get ready for major league play or even AAA play. He needs his at-bats, he needs his games," Bud Black said on Saturday.
Sunday will see the finale of the series with the Marlins, Ricky Nolasco will face Padres rookie Joe Wieland, with Wieland looking for his first win. First pitch is at 1:05, FSSD if you want to see it, XX 1090 AM if you can't.
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