Padres pitchers were in trouble throughout Friday’s matchup with Philadelphia, but they somehow found a way out of every jam. They put together a shutout, Austin Nola beat his brother for a crucial RBI single, and the Padres found a way to win.
MacKenzie Gore was coming off of a pair of tough starts against the Colorado Rockies. His fastball velocity was down substantially from his earlier starts. He walked four batters, allowed three hits, and put NL MVP Bryce Harper in a position to do a ton of damage.
Through it all, Gore kept a talented Philadelphia lineup off the board. At the end of the day, a pitcher’s job is to prevent runs. Gore did that, and he earned a crucial win for the Padres.
While Gore did not allow a hit in the first two innings, his fastball velocity was worryingly low. After sitting in the 95-96 mph range for most of his earlier starts, his fastball was around 93 mph in the early innings. In the third, the Phillies appeared to get a handle on Gore when the first two hitters of the inning reached base. Gore retired the next two batters, but Rhys Hoskins walked to bring up Bryce Harper with the bases loaded. Gore induced a soft fly out, leaving the bases full of Phillies.
Philadelphia picked up a two-out single in the fourth, as well as a walk, but Gore worked his way out of the jam again. Two more Phillies were left on in the fifth, with Harper and Castellanos being retired to end Gore’s night. He ended up stranding seven batters in the final three innings of his night, with Philadelphia going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Gore needed 96 pitches to work through five innings, but crucially, he kept the game scoreless.
Aaron Nola baffled the Padres for much of the night, working seven strong innings. San Diego had an early opportunity in the second when a two-out walk, followed by an infield single from Ha-Seong Kim, put Nomar Mazara in scoring position. CJ Abrams grounded out, keeping the game tied at zero. Luke Voit struck out with Jose Azocar on second in the third before base running cost the Padres in the fifth.
Azocar singled but was caught stealing. He would have scored on Jurickson Profar’s double, but with Azocar retired, the game stayed tied.
San Diego finally broke through when Eric Hosmer’s 111.5 mph double set Austin Nola up to ruin his brother’s day. Nola slapped a single into right field, scoring Hosmer to put the Padres on the board. After the game, Nola said that “It felt good to get the hit. He’s got my number quite a few times.”
It proved to be the only run of the night, as the San Diego bullpen worked their way through an extremely talented Phillies lineup.
“It’s just great theater,” manager Bob Melvin said following the game.
Nabil Crismatt worked two crucial shutout innings, earning the win in the process. Crismatt surrendered three batted balls that were hit at least 95 mph, but they all found gloves, as luck seemed to be on his side. Luis Garcia struck out the side, dominating the heart of the Phillies order. He faced the 2-3-4 hitters of Philadelphia’s order, needing just 12 pitches to retire the side.
Taylor Rogers struck out J.T. Realmuto to begin the ninth inning, but it got tricky from there. Alec Bohm and Matt Vierling each picked up soft singles. The expected batting averages on their hits were .070 and .240, respectively, but both dropped in, putting the go-ahead run on base.
Rogers induced a lineout from Johan Camargo to win a nine-pitch battle, putting the Padres one out away. The pinch-hitting Yairo Munoz walked, bringing up Kyle Schwarber with the bases loaded. Schwarber hit a deep fly ball to center, but Trent Grisham had plenty of room. The Padres found a way to win their 45th game of the season.
It was not a pretty night for the Padres, but they somehow put together their ninth shutout of the season.
All the wins count the same, but this one felt like it meant more for the Padres, who won their fourth game in five days.