Ed Bedford 10 a.m., Dec. 22
It isn't something you'll see San Diego Padres manager Buddy Black do often, but on Thursday he dipped five times into his bullpen in order to close out the game in the ninth inning, as the Padres beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-5. The Padres managed to salvage the last game of a three-game series in which they dropped the first two, but it wasn't easy. Black seemed to take a page from the Tony La Russa playbook.
San Diego got off to a fast start in the top of the first inning. With two outs, Chase Headley drew a walk and Yasmani Grandal singled, Headley taking third base. Jesus Guzman then belted his eighth home run of the season, taking a Tyler Skaggs fastball over the left-center field wall and the Padres jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the frame, the Diamondbacks got a run back when, with one out, Aaron Hill knocked a Clayton Richard fastball out to left field for a home run, Hill's 23rd of the year. After an inning, the Padres led 3-1.
The Padres got the run back in the top of the second inning. Andy Parrino drew a walk, and Clayton Richard failed to sacrifice Parrino, instead taking first base as Parrino was forced at second.
After Chris Denorfia flied out, Logan Forsythe doubled to drive in Parrino. At that point, the Padres enjoyed a 4-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Justin Upton opened with a double to center field, and then Clayton Richard walked Paul Goldschmidt. Miguel Montero then lined into a double-play, a line drive to Yonder Alonso which caught Goldschmidt off of first base.
Chris Johnson then came up and singled to left field, plating Upton. After four innings, the Padres held a 4-2 lead.
In the top of the sixth inning, Brad Bergesen relieved Tyler Skaggs and the Padres took advantage of the switch. Andy Parrino opened with a single, and this time Clayton Richard's sacrifice was successful, Parrino taking second base.
Chris Denorfia then doubled, plating Parrino, and after Logan Forsythe flied out, Chase Headley doubled home Denorfia. The Padres took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Diamondbacks came back again. In the bottom of the sixth with one out, Justin Upton tripled and Paul Goldschmidt singled to center, plating Upton. A Richard wild pitch put Goldschmidt at second base with one out.
Miguel Montero grounded out to third base, freezing Goldschmidt at second base, but with two outs Chris Johnson singled to left, scoring Goldschmidt. After six innings, the Padres held on to a 6-4 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Diamondbacks drew closer. Brad Brach replaced Clayton Richard and Adam Eaton hit his first home run of the year, a shot to right field, and the Diamondbacks closed the deficit to 6-5 still in favor of the Padres.
It came down to the bottom of the ninth inning, when Luke Gregerson came in to close the game out for the Padres. Gregerson allowed a single to Chris Johnson, and then pinch-hitter Ryan Wheeler reached on a fielding error by Logan Forsythe, and Gregerson gave way to Joe Thatcher to face Jason Kubel.
Thatcher walked Kubel to load the bases with no outs, and Black opted for Nick Vincent to replace Thatcher and face Mike Jacobs. Jacobs popped out to Chase Headley in foul territory for the first out of the frame.
Black then brought in left-hander Tommy Layne to face Adam Eaton and got Eaton to ground out to second base, Logan Forsythe throwing home to force Johnson at home plate, and there were two outs. Buddy then made one more pitching change, calling for Anthony Bass to face Aaron Hill.
All Bass did was to strike Hill out to record his first save of the season, and the Padres held on for the victory. Clayton Richard got the win and improved to 14-12, while Tyler Skaggs was tagged with the loss and fell to 1-3 on the season.
After leaving Wednesday's game, Carlos Quentin was again out of the lineup on Thursday. Quentin is day-to-day with a bum knee. Cameron Maybin, on the other hand, was back in the lineup on Thursday (achilles) and went 1 for 4. Closer Huston Street was reinstated from the disabled list on Friday, a move that was widely anticipated. Street (sore calf) doesn't take up roster space from the 40-man, since the Padres haven't filled it since the expansion from 25 to 40 happened in September. No idea if he pitches or not, so stay tuned for that, it depends on how the calf feels.
Friday, the Padres are in San Francisco to face the division-leading Giants. Game time is 7:15 PM PDST. San Francisco sends Ryan Vogelsong (12-9, 3.65) to face Casey Kelly (2-1, 5.85) for the Padres. Radio on XX 1090 AM as always, and you can catch it televised on Fox Sports San Diego if you can reel in that signal.