Daniel Powell 2:30 p.m., Dec. 17
Hundley’s homer helps Padres past Diamondbacks
Nick Hundley hit a 3-run home run to break a tie and propel the Padres to victory
At least when the Dodgers were in town over the weekend, the games were interesting because fans of baseball got a chance to see the division winner, regardless that the Padres won’t be balling in October. In what had been an uninteresting tie game on Monday, Nick Hundley finally charged the tiny crowd with a sixth-inning home run that hit the Western Metal Supply building and the Padres went on to a 4-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In the bottom of the first inning, Chris Denorfia led off with a single and Ronny Cedeno ground out, moving Denorfia to second. Chase Headley then singled with two outs plating Denorfia, and the Padres took a 1-0 lead.
Eric Stults got into trouble in the top of the second inning, allowing three consecutive singles with no one out. After striking out Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy, Stults almost escaped unscathed by inducing what might have been a double-play ball, but a run crossed home when the speedy Adam Eaton barely beat the return throw to first base, and the score was tied at a run each.
“That inning I felt like I made some good pitches. They had a couple of hits find the hole, and anytime you’re in a situation with the bases loaded with nobody out you try and limit the damage,” Stults said. “To get out of that inning just giving up a run, I feel like that was sort of a moral victory.”
Then the game became almost insufferably boring, thanks in part to what appeared to be a crowd of between 5,000 and 7,000 live fans in attendance. The paid attendance was announced at 15,869 but the majority of that total was apparently dressed in costume disguised as empty seats.
With what crowd there having little or nothing to cheer for, the game dragged on until the bottom of the sixth when the Padres mounted their first serious attack since the first inning. With one out, Chase Headley and Tommy Medica hit back-to-back singles, and an out later Hundley crushed a breaking ball out of the park off of the Western Metal Supply building just fair of the yellow foul stripe.
“I watched it, and about half-way there, I thought it was going to be foul for sure,” Hundley said. “Fortunately, it stayed true. Right when I hit it I thought it was going to be a homer, but half-way through its life I thought it was foul.”
Stults got into trouble in the very next inning, exiting after giving up a double and a walk with one out. Reliever Nick Vincent came in and got a pop-up and a strike out and extinguished the threat.
“Nick did a good job in those two hitters he faced. Fell behind [Gerardo] Parra, and threw a strike when he needed to… the last pitch [to Paul Goldschmidt] was a hard cutter that Goldschmidt didn’t quite pick up out of the hand and had a funky swing at it,” said manager Buddy Black.
Diamondbacks reliever and former Padres closer Heath Bell came in to relieve in the bottom of the inning and with two outs, threw a fast ball that got away from him and hit Ronny Cedeno square in the helmet. Cedeno stood, stunned, and after a few moments with the Padres training staff, walked off of the field and into the dugout for examination.
“He’s a little woozy,” Buddy said post-game. “The doctors checked him, he’s got a little bit of a headache. We’re obviously going to continue to monitor Ronny overnight. The doctors are obviously keeping an eye on him right now. As we move into the rest of the evening, there will be constant check-ups on him.”
It wasn’t apparent whether the surveillance would require an overnight stay in a hospital. “I’m not sure of his living situation,” Black said, “but I do think that somebody needs to be with him.”
In the top of the eighth inning, Luke Gregerson came in and with one out, threw what was meant to be a sinking fastball at Aaron Hill, and rather than sink, the ball arced inside and just missed hitting Hill. Home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt immediately jumped out from behind home plate and warned both benches, although in both cases – first with Bell and then with Gregerson – it didn’t appear that the pitches were intentionally thrown at the hitters.
Huston Street then closed out the ninth inning to notch his 33rd save in 34 opportunities and the Padres are back on the winning track. At least, for one game.
On the injury front, Will Venable will be day-to-day and with Ronny Cedeno we’ll find out more tomorrow. Will has had a fine season – his best yet by far – and with only six games left in the season for the Padres it makes little sense to play him through an injury, no matter how slight. Reymond Fuentes could fill in out in center field, with Denorfia and Kyle Blanks sharing the load in the corner outfield spots, and Mark Kotsay and Jesus Guzman are able to fill in as needed in left field. With Cedeno, Alexi Amarista and Logan Forsythe are capable back-ups in case Ronny needs time off.
Tuesday, Wade Miley (10-10, 3.75) will get the start for the Diamondbacks while the Padres will send Tyson Ross (3-8, 3.24) to the hill. Game time is 7:10 PM PDST and can be heard on radio 1090 AM or watched on Fox Sports San Diego. And on Tuesday, Park at the Park passes are only $5 and it’s taco Tuesday so $1 grilled chicken tacos are available at select locations throughout the ball park.