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Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., Dec. 9
The Padres had won four straight series, but on Tuesday that came to an end when Baltimore came to town. The Friars offense couldn’t get hits when they needed them and the Orioles shut down the Padres 4-1, meaning that San Diego can only hope for a split in the short two-game series.
Edinson Volquez didn’t pitch poorly, allowing just two runs in six innings, giving up six hits and two walks while striking out six. He gave up a run in the first inning on an Adam Jones single to drive in Nate McLouth, and then Jones got to Volquez again in the fourth inning with a solo home run.
But Volquez had his pitch count up early, throwing 43 pitches by the end of the second inning. “Not overly efficient, but he went six innings and gave up two runs. Any given night, we’ll take that. Most nights that’s good enough for a win,” said manager Buddy Black.
The Padres finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning when Chris Denorfia and Chase Headley opened the frame with back-to-back singles, and Yonder Alonso followed with a single driving in Denorfia to cut the deficit to 2-1. But Headley and Alonso were both stranded as Orioles starter Bud Norris got the next three Padres hitters to face him.
Yonder Alonso got two hits in four at-bats, but was both complimentary of Norris and critical of the Padres offense. “At the end of the day [Norris] made some good pitches and we weren’t able to capitalize, but we have to be able to do those things. We have to be able to get guys in and especially in games where we know he’s going to be out there and that pitcher’s going to give it his all and he’s going to have good stuff,” Alonso said.
As a team, the Padres were a mere 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position. “Our situational hitting was not good tonight,” said Black. “And we need to be better at it, there’s no doubt about it. We talk about it, and we have to execute.”
Nick Vincent came in relieving Volquez and was brilliant, retiring the side in order while striking out two. “Nick threw the ball well,” Buddy said. “He’s been throwing the ball well all year.”
Luke Gregerson and Tim Stauffer each threw one inning and both allowed some cushion for the Orioles by giving up a run on two hits in both the eighth and ninth innings. And the Padres had no answer, stranding runners and missing scoring opportunities the entire game.
There seemed to be a feeling of boredom in the stands toward the late innings of the three-hour game. A pair of gulls circled in the outfield anticipating the end of the contest, and the crowd cheered each time one of the gulls landed or came close to landing.
With 50 games still remaining in the season, let’s hope that the Padres are going to be more entertaining than the seagulls. Otherwise, fans may opt to save a few bucks and head to the beach, instead.
Carlos Quentin is still out with a knee issue, and according to Buddy Black, may not be considered until Friday. At least, Buddy indicated that the club would be willing to wait that long to see if Carlos can go before considering him a candidate for the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 31. Cameron Maybin is still with AAA Tucson rehabbing and Kyle Blanks is working out with the big club. There is no time table for either. Cory Leubke is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and will be in the Peoria, Arizona complex on Wednesday to begin a throwing regimen.
Wednesday, the Padres and Orioles will play the second and last game of the series. It’s an early game, featuring Eric Stults (8-10, 3.55) for the Padres against Miguel Gonzalez (8-5, 3.88) going for Baltimore. Game time is 12:40 PM PDST, televised on Fox Sports San Diego and broadcast on radio 1090 AM.