The San Diego Padres shutout the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 to advance to the NLDS.
The San Diego Padres did it. The Cardinals are the only NL team to eliminate the Padres in a postseason series. On Friday, the Padres ended that curse.
The Padres came into this final game with a lot of momentum, but many questions regarding their pitching. Without Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger, the starting pitching was really hurt. Then Chris Paddack and Zach Davies each got shelled and couldn’t make it past two and third innings. With Garret Richards moved into the bullpen this season, the Padres didn’t have a 5th starter. They decided to lean on an already taxed bullpen for the win.
Craig Stammen got his first-ever start on the Padres in his four years on the team. Many Padre fans likely were concerned to see him start. This season he had a 5.63 era is his highest career mark and significantly worse than the 3.29 era he put up last year. To their happy shock, he pitched 1.2 innings and allowed only one hit before being pulled.
In total, the Padres would use nine different pitchers to complete the shutout. Stammen, Tim Hill, Pierce Johnson, Adrian Morejon, Austin Adams, Luis Patino, Emilio Pagan, Drew Pomeranz, and Trevor Rosenthal all made appearances on the mound. No pitcher went longer than Morejon, who pitched one and two-thirds innings. He threw a total of 25 pitches and tallied two strikeouts.
In the third inning, the Cardinals had a chance to strike a blow the Padres pitching staff. Harrison Bader got hit by a pitch, Tommy Edman hit a single to center field, and Paul Goldschmidt walked. This gave Dylan Carlson a bases-loaded chance with two outs. Johnson got his composure together and struck out Carlson to end the inning.
As a whole, the Padres shut down the Cardinals, unlike the first two games. They tallied eight strikeouts, four hits, and three walks.
The Cardinals bats couldn’t get it going. Paul Goldschmidt and Yadier Molina were the Cards best hitters in the first two games, going a combined 8-20 with two homers and two doubles. This game, they combined to go 1-6 with a walk and strikeout. In total, they had six at-bats with runners in scoring position and failed to get a hit every time.
The Cardinals used just two pitchers to complete eight innings on the mound. Jack Flaherty started the game and allowed one run in six innings. He allowed six hits and two walks while striking out eight batters. Alex Reyes took over for the 7th and 8th inning of play. He only surrendered two walks and two hits. Three runs did score on his watch, but only one of the runs was earned.
In the second inning, the Padres had their first chance at scoring. Mitch Moreland and Wil Myers each reached base. Jake Cronenworth then hit a pop fly that managed to drop in the infield for a single. That ball had an expected batting average of .120. That loaded the bases with two outs for Trent Grisham. Flaherty was able to strike him out to avoid disaster.
The first run of the game came in the fifth inning. Fernando Tatis Jr.grounded a ball down the left-field line to get a double with one out. Eric Hosmer hit him in a double to centerfield to give the Padres a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the 7th, two big errors helped out the Padres. Grisham hit an easy grounder to Kolten Wong for what could have been a double play, except he missed his throw to Paul DeJong. While the ball went to the outfield, Cronenworth was able to advance to third and Grisham to second. Alex Reyes, who is now pitching, intentionally walked Tatis to avoid his bat. With the bases loaded, Manny Machado chopped a grounder to third. Tommy Edman fielded it, thought he touched third, then threw it home to Molina. Molina didn’t field the ball cleanly, which allowed Cronenworth to score. Edman also didn’t touch third, so on the play, the Cardinals got no outs. Hosmer worked a bases-loaded walk to bring in the third run of the game.
Thankfully for Reyes, he was able to limit the damage. Tommy Pham grounded into one of the weirder double plays all season. The ball went to Wong on a grounder, Hosmer slowed down to not be tagged. So Wong threw it home to get the force out, then Molina tossed it to second to get out Hosmer after he was slow on the play. In total, the play went 4-2-6 for the double play.
In the 8th inning, Tatis reminded fans that he isn’t just a great bat. He also is one of the best fielding shortstops in the game. He snagged a soft liner by Paul Dejong to get the final out of the inning. Statcast projects that ball to produce a .970 batting average!
oh my goodnesssssssss
— Fox Sports San Diego (@FOXSportsSD) October 3, 2020
In the 8th inning, Cronenworth gave the Padres the only long-ball of the game. He drilled a ball 104.5 mph dead center over the wall. In total, he went 3-for-4 with two runs this game. In the series, he put a 2.000 OPS leads the Padres postseason roster.
Trevor Rosenthal came into the game in the ninth to secure the Padres series win. He needed just 13 pitches to strike out the side and advance the Padres.
After the game, Wil Myers said, “I feel like we are a very complete team right now, and it’s very dangerous.”
The Padres will need to stay dangerous as they face division rival, Los Angeles Dodgers, in the NLDS.