Nick Martinez and Manny Machado willed the San Diego Padres to a 2-1 win in the series opener against the Miami Marlins.
Martinez threw seven sparkling innings of one-run baseball, looking the best he’d looked since joining the Padres.
Manny Machado homered twice, bringing his season total to seven and making it four in the Padres’ last five games. Hardly anyone outside of Machado produced, as Eric Hosmer, Jake Cronenworth, and Jorge Alfaro’s singles were the only other hits for the Padres. San Diego closed out the game with an inning apiece from Luis Garcia and Taylor Rogers.
The Padres won the way they had needed to for much of the early part of the season, getting great pitching and just enough offense.
Nick Martinez worked efficiently, staying out of trouble for most of the night and working his way out of it when he needed to. He started off the night with a 10-pitch first inning, retiring all three batters he faced. Martinez allowed his first hit of the night on a one-out double to Garrett Cooper, but he worked his way out of the jam with a groundout and a lineout.
The Marlins got to Martinez for their only run in the third, starting off the inning with a pair of singles. Jesus Aguilar did score Miguel Rojas, but a huge double play kept the game tied at one. After allowing a run, the right-hander seemed to find his groove, retiring the next 11 batters that he faced. Aguilar’s hit in the third was the final one that the Marlins got off Martinez on the night. Martinez struck out four batters, but he walked just one, which tied for his fewest walks in a start this season. Acting manager Ryan Christenson mentioned how important it was that Martinez had a good outing, as the bullpen had been stretched thin by the doubleheader on Wednesday night.
Bob Melvin missed the game with a non-COVID-based illness, as bench coach Ryan Christenson took over to replace Melvin. Melvin is expected to return for tomorrow’s game, though Christenson will be available if needed.
Manny Machado lit up the night. His two home runs, both of which traveled over 400 feet, proved crucial. Machado’s first long ball came on a first-pitch curveball, which he deposited over the center-field wall. He then caught up to a 1-1 fastball, which found its way into the second deck. He earned a walk in the sixth inning before finishing off his night with a double play. However, the double play, along with the two home runs, all had exit velocities over 105 miles per hour. Machado was squaring up the ball the way he has all season, saying, “Just putting good swings on good pitches, hopefully going to continue doing that.”
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Jorge Alfaro got the start behind the plate against his former team, and it was a solid night. He grounded into a double play in his first at-bat, but it was scorched, coming off the bat at 111.6 miles per hour, the fastest hit ball of the night. Alfaro then walked in the fifth before finishing his night with a seventh-inning single. Both of Alfaro’s batted balls had at least a 60% chance of being a hit, according to Baseball Savant.
The bullpen looked solid, a relief after a shaky road trip. The Padres came into the game with the 24th best bullpen in baseball, and they had just blown the second game of the doubleheader with Cleveland. However, Luis Garcia allowed just one hit in the eighth, continuing his strong start to 2022, before Taylor Rogers stayed perfect. Rogers struck out two of the three batters he faced, picking up his NL-leading 11th save of the season.
It was not a spectacular night for the Padres, but they rode their superstar third baseman to a critical win. Martinez made his case for why he should not be moved to the bullpen when the Padres return to a five-man rotation.