Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
Padres nail Giants in thirteen innings and are within a game of first place
It took a bunt in the thirteenth inning for the Padres to get by the Giants in extra innings
And then there was one. The Padres outlasted the San Francisco Giants 5-3 on Monday night in 13 innings, and coupled with a loss by the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks, the Friars are only one game behind the Snakes.
The Padres seventh consecutive win came without five of the eight position starters. First baseman Yonder Alonso, second baseman Jedd Gyorko, and center fielder Cameron Maybin are all on the disabled list; shortstop Everth Cabrera and left fielder Carlos Quentin are sidelined and currently day-to-day.
The Padres continue to win without them. The Padres took an early lead in the third inning on back-to-back doubles but the Giants scored three in the bottom of the fourth inning off of Padres starter Edinson Volquez.
Then San Diego began to chip away, with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to tie the game, 3-3. And the score remained tied into extra innings.
In the bottom of the twelfth inning, the Giants looked to walk-off with a win, when with a runner on second base, Juan Perez smoked a fly ball that looked sure to go over Will Venable’s head in center field to end the game. Venable had other ideas, and made what could be considered the catch of the season in all of Major League Baseball.
Inspired, the Padres went ahead in the top of the thirteenth inning when Alexi Amarista and Chris Denorfia hit back-to-back singles, Amarista taking third base. Pitcher Andrew Cashner then pitch-hit and laid down the perfect squeeze bunt which went for a single, scoring Amarista.
With one out, Kyle Blanks singled to load the bases, and after Jesus Guzman lined out, Giants reliever Jake Dunning walked Yasmani Grandal and Denorfia came home, giving the Padres the 5-3 lead. Huston Street came in and closed the bottom of the thirteenth and with the final out, the Padres leaped the Giants in the standings and are now in third place in the division.
While there are few negatives in a win like the one the Padres had on Monday, one distressing statistic is that they left 17 men on base after pounding out 18 hits. But the bats were lively, with Chris Denorfia, Logan Forsythe, and Pedro Ciriaco getting three hits each, and Chase Headley and Kyle Blanks collecting two apiece.
Tip of the cap to the Padres relief pitching corps. They combined for eight scoreless innings, with Nick Vincent getting the win and Huston Street compiling his 14th save of the season.
Vincent has been impressive in his short stints in the big leagues over two seasons. Lifetime, Vincent is 3-0 with a 1.38 earned run average in 32 2/3 innings. And he’s still only 26 years old.
Everth Cabrera (hamstring) and Carlos Quentin (shoulder) are still day-to-day. According to various sources, the club is more confident that Quentin will return faster than will Cabrera. Hamstring injuries are delicate, and it isn’t likely the Padres will rush Cabrera back. Still no word on whether either player will serve a stint on the disabled list, but if one does then a roster move could happen as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.
In the minors, closer Kevin Quackenbush has been promoted from AA San Antonio to AAA Tucson. Quackenbush has been fantastic since being drafted in the 8th round in 2011 by the Padres. Now in his third season, Kevin has amassed 58 saves in his professional career with an earned run average of 0.69 over less than three seasons. Put him on your watch list for a September call-up if this continues.
Manager Buddy Black won his 500th game on Monday. Black was hired by the Padres before the 2007 season, and in 2010 he won the National League Manager of the Year award. He is under contract with the organization through 2015.
Tuesday, the Giants and Padres will go at it again, with Andrew Cashner (5-3, 3.52) going for the Padres against the Giants Matt Cain (5-3, 4.70). Game time is at 7:10 PM PDST, on radio 1090 AM and televised on Fox Sports San Diego.