Kim’s big day lifts Padres to 7-5 victory over Reds

Credit: Padres

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Credit: Padres

On Thursday, the San Diego Padres continued their streak of dominance against the Cincinnati Reds, completing a three-game series sweep in a 7-5 victory. With the victory, the Padres also complete a perfect 6-0 season sweep against the Reds and are now 8-2 in their past ten games (the Padres are also 12-1 against the Reds since 2021).

The Padres struck first for the second night in a row via a first-inning single from Eric Hosmer, who capped off an impressive 6-for-9 series that saw him hit his first two home runs of the season and raise his MLB-leading batting average to .415. “It’s been awesome seeing him swinging the bat like he is…We need him big time, and what he’s been doing so far has been impressive,” Manny Machado said after the game.

Hosmer and Machado, comprising San Diego’s $444 million corner infield, both led the offensive attack throughout the course of the series. Machado posted another four hits Thursday after going 3-for-5 on Wednesday, which marked the fifth time this season he has posted at least three hits in a game. Machado has also raised his average around .400, as he now sits at .395 for the season. “It’s been very fun going out and competing with these guys every day,” said Machado, who currently leads the MLB in hits (30).

Cincinnati responded in the fifth with two run-scoring hits from Mike Moustakas (who was activated off the IL Wednesday) and Mark Koloszvary┬áto briefly take a 2-1 lead. The hit for Koloszvary, a double, was the first of his Major League career. Koloszvary has seen limited time as the backup catcher for Cincinnati since primary catcher Tyler Stephenson went on the IL with a concussion after last week’s home plate collision with Padres’ first baseman Luke Voit.

San Diego came back with another big inning in the sixth, plating four runs to regain the lead. This follows up an eight-run inning on Tuesday night and a four-run inning on Wednesday night and is an encouraging sign for a team that had struggled to score runs before this series (it’s also important to note that the Reds have an MLB-worst 5.85 team ERA coming into play today).

Ha-Seong Kim was key to the Padres’ rally in the sixth, coming through with a clutch two-out, bases-clearing double that put the Padres ahead for good. Kim has performed adequately offensively in 2022 with a .250 batting average across 47 plate appearances (his .862 OPS would also be 3rd among qualifying Padres hitters). Kim’s three hits and three RBI Thursday were both season highs.

Nick Martinez picked up his first win in a Padres uniform and held the Reds offense in check for most of the afternoon. Martinez cruised through the first four innings, including his first 1-2-3 inning of the season in the third, before running into trouble in the fifth. His five innings extends a strong streak of pitching from Padres starters, following up five innings of one-run ball from MacKenzie Gore on Wednesday and six strong innings from Joe Musgrove on Tuesday.

It will be interesting to see what the Padres choose to do with their starting rotation with both Mike Clevinger and Blake Snell making rehab starts for El Paso and Fort Wayne, respectively, this week (check out EVT’s Daily Farm Recap from Wednesday, which further recapped Clevinger’s start). A move to the bullpen seems more likely for Martinez, who has experience in relief with the Texas Rangers, than Gore, who has never made a relief appearance in his professional career.

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Through the first 20 games of the season, the Padres are 13-7 and sit in a tie for second place in the NL West with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both teams are 1/2 game behind the division-leading Giants, who are 13-6.

San Diego will look to continue their perfect road trip tomorrow afternoon as they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates for three games this weekend. The Padres will roll out their top three starters for the series, with Yu Darvish starting tomorrow night. Game time is set for 3:35 pm PST.

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