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8:30 a.m., May 19
When the Padres opened the season at 5-15, there weren’t many who considered the club attaining an even record at any point in the season, much less before the All-Star break. But on Saturday night, the Padres did just that by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks by coming from behind, 6-4.
Not only are the Padres .500 on the season in the middle of June, they are only 3 games in back of the division-leading Diamondbacks. San Diego remains the hottest team in baseball, winning 8 of their last 10 games and sporting a 5 game winning streak.
Jason Marquis was wobbly early, giving up two runs in the first inning on a walk and then a home run. “The first couple of innings Jason couldn’t find his groove, and then he did. He started dialing in the fast ball to good spots, the change-up came around, he threw some good sliders, too,” manager Buddy Black said during the post-game press conference.
The Diamondbacks struck again in the fourth inning when Marquis loaded the bases with one out and a run came home on a fielder’s choice. But Marquis got out of that jam giving up only the run and then the Padres offense got busy and gave him some run support.
Chase Headley singled home a run and Logan Forsythe hit a sacrifice fly for another. Yasmani Grandal came up with two runners on base and smacked a monster home run into the second deck in left field, and that gave the Padres all of the runs they would need.
Kyle Blanks hit a solo shot in the sixth inning, a line drive that cleared the left field wall. Fresh off of the disabled list, Huston Street came in to save the game in the ninth, giving up a run but securing the victory.
Considering that the Padres have done much of their recent damage without Street, and without their starting first and second basemen, and their starting center fielder, this is a remarkable stretch. Chase Headley still isn’t hitting like Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin is in and out of the lineup with various nagging ailments, and three starting pitchers that were supposed to be dazzling all of baseball are all recovering from Tommy John surgery.
It leaves you wondering where the Padres came up with all of the smoke and mirrors. Except, well, no smoke and no mirrors, just 25 guys who try their asses off. That applies to whichever 25 guys healthy enough to take the field on any given day.
Carlos Quentin was a late scratch from the lineup on Saturday, apparently with a shoulder issue. Logan Forsythe moved from second base to take Quentin’s spot in left field and made a spectacular play on a hooking fly ball. Newest Padre Pedro Ciriaco slotted in at second base. According to Buddy, whatever Carlos is enduring is not a big deal.
Sunday, the Padres are in position to complete their second consecutive sweep. Since the Diamondbacks Ian Kennedy (3-4, 5.49) appealed his ten-game suspension handed down by the Commissioner’s Office for his role in the bean-and-brawl with the Dodgers, he’ll pitch against Clayton Richard (1-5, 8.06) of the Padres. First pitch is slated to go at 1:10 PM PDST, and is carried via radio on 1090 AM and televised on Fox Sports San Diego. Except for Time Warner Cable customers who are probably going to have to settle for some golf match.