Cronenworth’s slam powers Padres to crucial series win over Reds

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After snapping their five-game losing skid Tuesday night and evening the series with Cincinnati Reds 1-1, the San Diego Padres needed to win the rubber match and take the series Wednesday afternoon.

Thanks to a strong pitching performance across the board, Jurickson Profar‘s four-hit game, and Jake Cronenworth‘s grand slam, the Padres achieved their first series win since taking two out of three in mid-April against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Mike Shildt gave the start to Joe Musgrove, coming in with a rough 6.94 ERA over 35 innings to begin the season. The majority of Musgrove’s struggles manifest in the early innings, as the right-hander entered the action with a 9.00 ERA in the first inning alone.

In his last start against the Philadelphia Phillies, Musgrove got tagged for seven earned runs across 3.2 innings.

“The stuff was coming out pretty good,” Shildt said in an interview with 97.3 The Fan following Musgrove’s outing. “The sequences were good. It’s just about being able to finish it.”

Fortunately for the Padres, the hurler shined in a much-needed quality start, going six strong frames of two earned run baseball.

The slow starts to Musgrove’s outings persisted, as the hurler gave up a two-out solo shot to Spencer Steer on a hung 2-2 curveball in the first frame.

San Diego’s starting pitching has struggled all season, as the Padres rotation ranks third worst in the National League with a 4.54 ERA.

For the Reds and David Bell, right-hander Graham Ashcraft took to the hill with a 4.40 ERA.

The Friars made some noise at the bottom of the first frame but ultimately came up short.

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With one out and two on, Manny Machado crushed a 403-foot fly ball that centerfielder Stuart Fairchild caught over the wall at the Toyota Beach in right centerfield, resembling Adam Jonesincredible robbery of Machado in the 2017 World Baseball Classic

However, San Diego took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, 2-1, when Profar collected his third hit in as many at-bats, plating Jackson Merrill and Tyler Wade.

“He’s a smart baseball player,” Shildt said of Profar. “He sees the game. And then he uses his skill set to be able to compete. He’s consistently got a good approach. He knows what the situation calls for.

Frustratingly, Cincinnati answered back immediately in the fifth on a Jeimer Candelario single that scored Santiago Espinal to tie the score 2-2. 

After the Reds left two runners on in the top of the seventh inning and failed to score, the Padres offense exploded in the bottom of the inning.

With the bases loaded and no one out, Cronenworth crushed a no-doubt 108-MPH grand slam on the first pitch of the at-bat to right field and gave San Diego a 6-2 lead.


Despite the non-save situation, Shildt went to closer Robert Suarez in the ninth to solidify the 6-2 victory with the off day on Thursday ahead.

Suarez made quick work of Cincinnati and retired the side in order with 11 straight heaters. The flamethrower has not allowed a single earned run over the past 12 innings.

After back-to-back disastrous series including a Phillies three-game sweep at home, this series win over the Reds will be essential for regaining momentum before the road trip which will begin against the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks.

“It was a good series win against a really good team,” Cronenworth said post-game. “I got the good pitch I wanted and got a good swing on it.”

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