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Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., Dec. 9
It's not as though the Padres are going to get many scheduled days off in Cactus League play this year - in fact, Wednesday was the first of only three. In Surprise on Monday, the Texas Rangers rallied in the ninth inning to walk off with a 5-4 victory, while on Tuesday in Peoria, San Diego beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-3.
The Padres spring training record now stands at 7-6 in the Cactus League.
Monday's game found Eric Stults starting for the Padres who went a total of three innings and gave up two runs on two hits with a walk. Stults pitched 55 pitches total, as the staff begins to slowly ramp up their pitch counts in preparation for April.
The Rangers scored the runs off of Stults in the first inning after Adrian Beltre opened with a double and Ian Kinsler walked. After one out, Mitch Moreland moved Kinsler and Beltre to second and third base on a ground out, and David Murphy plated Beltre and Kinsler with a single for the 2-0 lead.
The Padres batters, meanwhile, faced Rangers ace Yu Darvish who pitched three almost-flawless innings. Darvish allowed no runs and no hits,giving up two walks in three innings.
San Diego finally got on the board with Rangers pitcher Neal Cotts on the hill in the fifth. On a 3-1 count, Kyle Blanks hit a solo home run, and the Padres trailed 2-1.
In the top of the seventh, the Padres added two more when the Rangers put Cody Buckel on the mound and Buckel hit Jesus Guzman with a pitch. Rico Noel pinch-ran for Guzman and stole second base, and Gregorio Petit drove Noel home.
Petit then took third base on a Rangers throwing error, and Kyle Blanks hit a sacrifice fly to plate Petit. The Padres led the Rangers 4-2.
In the bottom of the eighth, Kevin Quackenbush took the hill for the Padres, and got a 2-out run home with a Brandon Snyder double followed by a single from Aaron Cunningham. The Rangers pulled to within a run, 4-3, but in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Padres couldn't hold off a rally.
Matt Stites replaced Quackenbush and Jim Adduci walked. One out later, Julio Bourbon double putting Adduci at third base.
Joey Butler hit an infield single, scoring Boubon, and after another out, Jeff Baker singled, scoring Bourbon. The Rangers walked off with a 5-4 victory over the Padres.
Tuesday's game had better results for the Padres against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers scored first off of Padres starter Jason Marquis combining a double, a wild pitch, and an error to plate Skip Schumaker and the Dodgers led 1-0
The Padres got even in the bottom of the first inning on consecutive singles from Will Venable, Chase Headley, and Yonder Alonso, and in was 1-1 after an inning. The Dodgers got the run back in the top of the second inning.
With one out, Juan Uribe doubled and Brian singled Uribe to third base. Dee Gordon then singled up the middle and Uribe scored, putting the Dodgers up 2-1 over the Padres.
In the fourth inning, the Padres went up for good. Cameron Maybin singled and Kyle Blanks tripled home Maybin, and Nick Hundley hit a 2-run home run to left, chasing Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw.
San Diego added two more in the sixth, after Cameron Maybin hit a solo home run to left field. Kyle Blanks walked and was replaced on the base path by Jeudy Valdez, who stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a passed ball, and the Padres led 6-2.
Jesus Guzman then hit a solo home run in the Padres seventh, and all the Dodgers could manage was another run in the ninth off of Padres reliever Donn Roach. Alex Castellanos and Rafael Ynoa hit back-to-back singles, and Tony Gwynn grounded into a force out, erasing Ynoa at second base. Matt Angle then singled home Castellanos, but that was all of the scoring.
On Thursday, the Padres will take on the Los Angeles Angels in Peoria, at 12:05 PM PST. Scheduled pitchers for San Diego include Freddy Garcia, Casey Kelly, Dale Thayer, Daniel Stange, Arturo Lopez, Tommy Layne, and Fautino De Los Santos.
The Padres are hitting a little bit, with a robust .294 team average in the Cactus League. But don't get too excited. The fields are hard and fast and give up a lot of infield singles, and it's Arizona and the ball carries. Unlike, say, Florida. Or Petco Park.