Petco Park- San Diego, California
The Padres were eager to win the rubber match of this mid-week series and earn the series win against the pesky Pirates. Before the game, there was plenty of buzz surrounding the lineup manager Jayce Tingler released, which did not contain 2020 Silver Slugger winner Manny Machado nor San Diego’s lone Gold Glover from last year, Trent Grisham.
Yu Darvish was in the lineup and on the mound, making his seventh start in a Padres uniform. For the first five innings, Darvish cruised without allowing a run.
Meanwhile, the Friars scratched across two runs. The first came on Victor Caratini’s second home run of the season in the bottom of the third, surpassing his total from all of last season.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) May 6, 2021
In the bottom of the fifth, Fernando Tatis Jr. worked a walk and then came around to score on a Wil Myers single, extending the lead to 2-0. However, the Padres squandered a chance to add on with a runner in scoring position.
The Pirates took advantage of the door being left slightly ajar as Bryan Reynolds launched an opposite-field home run to open the sixth against Darvish. He then surrendered two more hard-hit balls to put runners on first and third base with nobody out. He got Jacob Stallings to strike out, but Ka’ai Tom smacked a deep fly ball to center to score the tying run on a sacrifice fly.
Darvish’s night would end after he plunked Hunter Owen in the hand, leaving the game after 5 2/3 innings. Craig Stammen came in to finish the inning, and Darvish finished with two earned runs with eight strikeouts and one walk.
The game did not stay tied for long as the Padres conjured a rally in the bottom of the sixth. The Friars were aided by shaky defense by Pittsburgh, who gifted San Diego four errors. One of them allowed Caratini to reach with no one out in the sixth. Grisham, who originally had the night off, notched a pinch-hit double, putting runners on second and third with no one out. Jake Cronenworth got the chance to play the hero, and he came through with a go-ahead, two-run single to put the Padres ahead 4-2.
“Getting the ball in play, speed and hustling down the line. That’s what we got to have. We know if we keep applying pressure, something’s going to give,” Tingler said regarding the four runs the offense generated.
— Bally Sports San Diego (@BallySportsSD) May 6, 2021
The Friars tried to make more noise in the bottom of the eighth with a walk to Grisham and Machado’s first career pinch-hit, but they were unable to add on.
Mark Melancon came on to try and earn his 11th save in 11 tries. Pittsburgh did not intend on going away quietly as Kevin Newman reached with an infield single with two outs. La Costa Canyon alum Phillip Evans came up as the tying run. He grounded to third baseman Ha-Seong Kim, who fired over to Eric Hosmer at first. Initially, the umpire ruled that Hosmer came off the base, and it looked like the Pirates were going to spark a rally. However, upon review, Hosmer dragged his toe across the bag as he caught the ball, thus ending the game and sealing the victory for the Padres and Melancon’s league-leading 11th save.
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Once again, the bullpen came through when the Friars needed it the most. It remains one of the best units in the major leagues. The Padres improved to 18-14, just a half of a game outside of first place in the NL West and tied for the most wins in the National League.
They have a well-earned off day on Thursday before a road series in San Francisco against the Giants this weekend.
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.