Petco Park- San Diego, California
A familiar script presented itself in front of the Padres. Once again, they found themselves down in the sixth inning and had to spark a rally but, with Zach Greinke on the hill, the task seemed close to impossible. But, for the third time in six games, a go-ahead home run lifted the Friars to victory and are now on the verge of a sweep right before a day off.
Matt Strahm toed the rubber for the Padres and put up zeroes in the first three innings, matching Greinke pitch-for-pitch.
But the Diamondbacks still scored first when a juicy 89 MPH fastball left over the heart of the plate got tattooed by Eduardo Escobar in the top of the fourth inning. Strahm made the same mistake in the next inning, this time to John Ryan Murphy who made the score 2-0 with his solo shot.
Greinke, on the other hand, was doing what he did best; shut down the Padres. The right-hander only allowed a single hit, a base hit by Austin Hedges, through five innings while striking out five Padres and walking one. Fitting, coming from the man who only allowed two runs and struck out six through seven innings in his previous encounter with San Diego.
The offense finally came around in the sixth inning when Ian Kinsler cracked a single to left field and advanced to second on a ground ball. The 36-year-old veteran would score on an RBI single from Manny Machado, good for Kinsler’s 15th run scored and Machado’s 25th RBI of the season.
Up stepped Eric Hosmer to the plate, a career .174 hitter against Greinke, with the tying run on first base. The first baseman only needed one pitch to put the Padres in the lead, parking a two-run home run into the left-field corner at 101 MPH off the bat to give San Diego their first lead of the game.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) May 22, 2019
Strahm was pulled after six innings of work, ceding the game and the lead to his bullpen. He threw 71% of his pitches for strikes and coaxed the Diamondbacks into seven groundouts while striking out two. The Padres bullpen, which has been admittedly shaky at times this season, was locked in tonight. Phil Maton fired an inning of scoreless relief, and Craig Stammen was his usual self, collecting hold number 12 by firing an inning of scoreless relief while striking out two.
The stage was set for Kirby Yates, who didn’t disappoint in the bottom of the ninth inning. Escobar, Blake Swihart, and Christian Walker all went down by way of the K and Yates earned his 19th save of the year. As AJ Cassavell pointed out on Twitter, Yates has faced 38 hitters in the last nine games and struck out 23 of them.
The Padres are now one game above .500 and are tied for second place in the NL West. They’ll go for a sweep tomorrow with Eric Lauer on the hill.