Ken Harrison 3:30 p.m., March 23
Padres edge Giants to climb out of last place
Combining good situational hitting and pitching that survived the Giants offense, the Padres ensured that the Giants can't leave town in fourth place in the division
Robbie Erlin is one of the young promising Padres arms, obtained in a shrewd trade with the Texas Rangers back in 2011, showed his future value to the organization on Monday night. Behind Erlin, some solid relief pitching, and some clutch hitting, the Padres got by the San Francisco Giants 3-2.
Erlin was acquired along with Joe Wieland over two years ago for set-up man Mike Adams, who helped the Rangers get to the World Series. Since then, Adams became a free agent, signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, and underwent season-inning shoulder surgery in July.
Wieland made the big club last last with the Padres but his season ended early with Tommy John Surgery, and is hopeful for 2014. The 22-year old Erlin came up in spots this season and has performed well in his last two starts, including this one.
The most impressive aspect of Tuesday’s performance for Erlin was his ability to recover. Erlin was pressured in the first inning, throwing a total of thirty pitches to six batters without allowing a run.
“I kind of worked behind a little bit, and had to get back into counts, which ran the pitch count up,” Erlin explained. “Really, I just tried to get a feel for everything, and it took thirty pitches to do it.”
The Giants actually loaded the bases in the first inning between outs, with Erlin giving up two singles and a walk, but Robbie struck out Pablo Sandoval to end the inning.
From there, Erlin cruised while the Padres waited until the fifth inning to get him some run support. With one out, Kyle Blanks doubled and with two outs, Nick Hundley plated Blanks with a double.
Giants starter Madison Bumgarner intentionally walked Ronny Cedeno to get to Erlin, but that strategy backfired. Erlin singled home Hundley and the Padres led 2-0 after five innings.
In the top of the sixth, Erlin allowed back-to-back singles to open the frame and with one out, Pablo Sandoval singled home a run and that was all for Erlin. Tim Stauffer came in and allowed Joaquin Arias a single which brought in another run to tie it up, but Stauffer retired the next two batters to end the threat.
“He threw well,” manager Buddy Black said of Erlin. “His tempo in between pitches was good, we’ve been working on that, try and speed him up a little bit, get him in that aggressive mindset as he works through a game.”
In the top of the seventh inning, the Giants had a great opportunity to score when Angel Pagan opened with a triple, but Stauffer pitched his way out of it and the Giants left him stranded. In the bottom of the frame, the Padres broke the tie thanks to some clutch hitting.
After Jake Dunning relieved Bumgarner, Nick Hundley walked and Ronny Cedeno singled. Javier Lopez replaced Dunning and an out later, Chris Denorfia lined a single to left field to plate Hundley and that run was the difference.
Luke Gregerson held the top of the eighth and Huston Street got his 27th save in the top of the ninth. With the win, the Padres are one game out of the cellar of the National League West and ensured themselves of taking the series.
While it was a knee that sidelined Cameron Maybin’s recovery late this season, the knee is healing and won’t require surgery. Instead, the right wrist will receive an operation on Friday. The prognoses pre-surgery, is that Maybin could actually recover in time to rehab playing winter ball by sometime in December. Maybin’s wrist has been a problem off-and-on for quite some time.
Wednesday, the Giants will play the Padres in the finale of the series. The Friars will offer Eric Stults (8-12, 3.81) while Tim Lincecum (8-13, 4.38) will take the hill for the Giants. Game time is 3:40 PM PDST, on 1090 AM for radio and televised on Fox Sports San Diego.