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8:30 a.m., June 23
On Wednesday the Padres had a lot stacked against them, what with a five-game losing streak on their tails and facing a very hot team in the Milwaukee Brewers who were winners if nine straight. And with Edinson Volquez making the start for San Diego, based on most of his previous starts this season it would have figured that the Padres would have needed to score a lot of runs off of Brewers starter Marco Estrada in order to have a shot at salvaging the last game of the series.
So much for what figured to have needed to happen, because Volquez was on target and the Padres timely bats and some heads-up running on the base paths were all that was needed. The Padres hung on to beat the Brewers Wednesday evening, 2-1.
For the first three innings, both Volquez and Estrada were very effective, allowing base runners but permitting no scoring. In fact, it was the first time that Volquez did not allow a run through three innings this season.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Carlos Quentin announced his return a day after he came off of suspension with his first home run of the season, a blast off of a window on the Western Metal Supply Company building. For Quentin, it marked the 29th team he has hit a home run off of (which is every team he has faced in his career, with the White Sox being the only club he has never played against) and the Padres were up on the Brewers 1-0.
“A long one,” manager Buddy Black said about Quentin’s home run. “A hanging breaking ball, and he squared it up. You don’t see many up there in the third tier of the Western Metal, that ball was crushed.”
The Padres would score again in the bottom of the fifth inning, and it would turn out to be the winning run. With one out, Nick Hundley singled to right field, and then Edinson Volquez sacrificed Hundley to second base.
Hundley noticed that on the sacrifice attempt, third baseman Yuniesky Betancourt had run toward the plate to try and cover the bunt and so Nick took off for third base which was left uncovered. Rickie Weeks’ throw to third base was thrown away and Nick came around to score and it was 2-0 Padres over the Brewers.
“Heads-up play. The bunt is in order there with the pitcher, third baseman hard crash, the ball is right out there in front of the plate, catcher made the play and there was no retreat by the third baseman. Nick recognized that it was a foot race at third base. Weeks had to make a throw on-line to a running target and that’s a tough play,” Black said.
Meanwhile, Volquez sailed along until he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning. Edinson went 7 shutout innings and gave up just five hits and no walks with three strikeouts, and it was the first time in his career that he hadn’t given up a walk when pitching at least seven innings.
“It felt great,” Volquez said after the game in the club house. “After losing five games in a row we had to stop the bleeding and we did tonight. I was throwing strikes, no walks today. About time.”
Edinson’s fastball had excellent movement and tended to start outside and run in on right-handed hitters. “I have my movement now. I don’t even try to throw hard anymore, I just want to make the right pitch and let the ball do whatever it wants to do,” Volquez said.
Luke Gregerson closed out the top of the eighth but the Brewers made it interesting in the ninth inning as Huston Street came on to close out the game. With two outs, Carlos Gomez hit a weak fly ball to shallow right field that landed just inside of the foul line and in between Yonder Alonso, Chris Denorfia, and a diving Jedd Gyorko for a double.
Yuniesky Betancourt then smacked a line drive to left field which just fell in front of a charging Alexi Amarista who had replaced Quentin in a defensive switch. Gomez scored to make it 2-1 Padres, but Martin Maldonado came to bat and was subsequently called out on batter’s interference on a ball he chopped right at the plate but failed to allow Nick Hundley to field.
For Volquez, his record improved to 1-3, while Street got his third save of the season. The Padres are now 6-15 on the season.
As predicted in yesterday’s piece, Thad Weber was optioned down to AAA Tucson on Wednesday. Pitcher Robbie Erlin was called up from Tucson and his first appearance will be his major league debut. Erlin came to the Padres along with pitcher Joe Wieland from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Mike Adams in 2011. Erlin was 2-0 with a 4.73 earned run average in three starts at Tucson. To make room for Erlin on the 40-man roster, Logan Forsythe (right plantar fasciitis) was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.
Thursday, the Padres will enjoy an off-day and then the San Francisco Giants will come to town and the Padres will be looking for a little revenge for the sweep that the Giants pulled off in San Francisco before the Brewers came to town on Monday. On Friday, Andrew Cashner (0-1, 4.05) is set to go up against Tim Lincecum (2-0, 3.97), Saturday should see Eric Stults (2-2, 4.70) face Barry Zito (3-1, 3.42), and on Sunday Jason Marquis (1-2, 4.63) will likely battle Ryan Vogelsong (1-1, 5.68). Giants fans travel surprisingly well, so if you want to get some good seats for any game in that series, look into it soon. All of the games will be on radio 1090 AM and televised by Fox Sports San Diego by every cable or satellite outfit available except Time Warner Cable. Amazing that TWC will pony up $7 billion to carry Dodgers games in Los Angeles but won’t pay market value for airing Padres games on FSSD. They must really hate San Diego.