Azocar the hero, Padres wiggle to fifth straight win

Credit: Padres

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Credit: Padres

The San Diego Padres won another one-run game, relying on a fantastic bullpen to keep them in contention.

Manny Machado, who’s been the Padres superstar, couldn’t come up with clutch hits, but his team picked him up to win the series opener with the Brewers. Luis Garcia worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the tenth, and rookie Jose Azocar hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the inning.

The Padres put together an impressive but frustrating first inning.

Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado both walked, but Wil Myers’ groundout ended the scoring threat. Brewers starter Adrian Houser threw 32 pitches in the first inning, but he picked up two critical strikeouts to help keep the game scoreless. Houser settled into the game from there, as he faced just nine batters over the next three innings. Jurickson Profar singled, but he was erased via Hosmer grounding into a double play.  

San Diego’s offense finally showed some signs of life in the fifth inning. Luke Voit picked up a one-out single before Trent Grisham moved Voit to third with a double. Grisham’s double had a 96% hit probability, a welcome sight for Padres fans after his early season struggles. Voit came around to score after Jorge Alfaro’s RBI groundout, putting the Padres on the scoreboard. Despite Grisham being 90 feet away, Jake Cronenworth struck out on a high fastball to end the threat.

Nick Martinez made his first start in 12 days, and it was a difficult one. Martinez lived on the edge throughout the game, as the Brewers had ten plate appearances with runners in scoring position. After Martinez worked a ten pitch first inning, the Brewers scored a pair of runs in the second. Andrew McCutchen started off the frame with an infield single, moving to second on Rowdy Tellez’s walk. Martinez retired the next two batters he faced, but a two-out double from Tyrone Taylor pushed across McCutchen and Tellez. In the third inning, Martinez stranded former Padre Luis Urias at third base, keeping the deficit at two. The Brewers loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, but a shallow flyout and a strikeout put Martinez one out away from working his way out of the jam. Kolten Wong hit a ground ball up the middle, where a diving play from Jake Cronenworth ended the inning, saving two runs. Martinez finished his night with an efficient fifth, striking out the final two batters he faced. 

After forcing Houser from the game, the Padres faced another former Padre in Brad Boxberger. Wil Myers stayed hot, lacing a 2-2 double at 108 miles per hour into center field for a double. From there, the Padres manufactured the tying run. Myers moved to third on Robinson Cano’s groundout before a perfectly executed bunt single scored Myers to tie the game. Trent Grisham dropped down a squeeze bunt for the second time in three days, placing it just inside fair territory. However, a pair of walks set up Manny Machado for an opportunity to blow the game open. Unfortunately, Machado flew out, keeping the game tied at two.

The two teams traded scoreless innings from their bullpen, with Robert Suarez working a nine-pitch eighth, striking out two of the three batters he faced. In the bottom of the frame, Eric Hosmer hit an infield single, but the Padres were unable to do any damage. Bob Melvin made a move to Taylor Rogers, who struck out two batters in a scoreless inning. 

In the bottom of the frame, the Padres had every opportunity to score. Jose Azocar hit a leadoff single before moving up to second on Trent Grisham’s groundout. However, Devin Williams struck out Alfaro on three pitches, all of which were swings and misses. Jake Cronenworth hit a ground ball to the left side, and a diving stop from Luis Urias kept the game tied. However, Urias could not make the throw to first in time, giving Machado a chance to atone for his flyout with the bases loaded. Machado struck out on a high fastball, as he couldn’t come through, sending the game to the tenth. 

With the game in extra innings, Melvin decided to go to Luis Garcia, who blew a save in San Francisco. Garcia gave up a single and a walk, loading up the bases with no outs. He looked like he couldn’t find the strike zone at all, as he’d thrown five consecutive balls. Then out of nowhere, he induced a ground ball to himself, which he turned into a double play. Afterward, he induced a groundout, keeping the game tied. It was the second time in the game that the Brewers loaded the bases with no outs and failed to score. Milwaukee went a dismal 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position in the game.

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In the bottom of the tenth, the Padres found themselves needing to just bring Manny Machado home to pick up a fifth straight win. Profar moved Machado to third with a ground ball to the right side, meaning that the Padres needed just a sacrifice to pick up the win. Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers were intentionally walked, putting Ha-Seong Kim under pressure to try and bring home the run. Kim hit a broken bat line drive, but it went straight to Urias. Jose Azocar, who came into the game as a defensive substitute, came to the plate. Azocar hit a change-up into center field, picking up his first career walk-off hit, before being mobbed by his joyful teammates.

The Padres will face Brewers ace Corbin Burnes tomorrow, as they’ll try and win their fourth consecutive series and sixth straight game. 

2 thoughts on “Azocar the hero, Padres wiggle to fifth straight win

    1. Absolutely true, but don’t forget the White Sox wish they had Fernando Tatis Jr. every single day.

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