Clutch hits, scoreless frames lead Padres to series win vs. Reds

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Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In their rubber game against Cincinnati, the Padres pushed through in the 10th to win the season series against the upstart Cincinnati Reds. 

San Diego mustered a solid showing against Reds starter Frankie Montas, tagging the Reds starter for four runs over the first two innings. Manny Machado continued his recent tear with a two-RBI double in the first inning. In the second inning, the Padres would load the bases and bring across two runs as well. 

Coming off a ten-strikeout performance in Atlanta, Matt Waldron had an uneven start to his outing, allowing two runs over the first two frames. The first inning would have ended with more runs coming across were it not for a swift tag at home by Kyle Higashioka to cut down a run on a double steal attempt by the running Reds. 

Both Montas and Waldron would settle into a groove from the third inning onwards, with Waldron tossing five innings of two-run ball, allowing six hits and striking out seven batters. He recorded a 53% whiff rate on the knuckleball, and the pitch was averaging 2.7 mph higher velocity than his previous outings. Over his last three starts, Waldron has posted a 2.81 ERA and has struck out 35% (23 of 65) of the batters he’s faced in this span. It is yet another positive development for the 27-year-old this season. 

The Reds would go into the sixth inning down by two, but they would tie the game on a two-run homer by former Padre Nick Martini off Enyel De Los Santos. This marked the sixth home run allowed by De Los Santos this season in just under 20 innings. The Padres & Reds bullpen dueled through the seventh through ninth inning, with the Padres’ bullpen’s efforts led by Jeremiah Estrada’s scoreless eighth and ninth innings. Estrada had batters whiffing on 30% of his pitches, striking out five of the seven he faced. 

The Padres had an opportunity to take a lead in the ninth inning following a double by Ha-Seong Kim off Reds closer Alexis Diaz. However, Kim would be picked off at second base to quell the threat, as the game went into bonus baseball. 

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The Padres offense broke through in the tenth inning against Reds southpaw Sam Moll, with Fernando Tatis Jr pulling an RBI double down the left field line at 106.2 miles an hour, scoring Luis Campusano. Jake Cronenworth would hit a lefty-lefty sacrifice fly to score Luis Arraez to make it a two-run lead. Manny Machado would ground into a double play to end the inning, but the 102 mph exit velocity is a continued sign of Machado finding his stroke at the plate. 

Robert Suarez entered the game to close out the Reds, with Reds phenom Elly De La Cruz up to the plate as the tying run. De La Cruz would be called out on strikes on a perfectly placed fastball, and following a walk to Jeimer Candelario, Suarez would record two weakly hit flyouts to close the game and secure a series win against Cincinnati. 

The Difference a Year Can Make

The Padres had a game much like this one last season. June 30 vs Cincinnati, the Padres lost 7-5 in 11 innings in a game that played out similarly to this one. However, this season, the Padres came out on top. Are there differences between last season and this season’s rosters? Yes. But would last year’s team win games like this one? Or like Monday’s against Atlanta? Probably not.

The Padres return to Petco Park tomorrow to face Juan Soto and the New York Yankees. The first pitch is at 6:40 p.m.

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