Padres hold on to edge Cubs, 5-4


Credit: AP Photo

Credit: AP Photo

The San Diego Padres finally picked up some offense, scoring five runs and spreading 11 hits against the Cubs’ defense in Tuesday’s 5-4 win.

Jake Cronenworth continued to bust out of his slump, producing three hits for the Padres. Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer each scored a run and drove one in as the Padres chipped away at Wade Miley and the Cubs bullpen. It was not a stellar display of offense, but it was a return to the needed level of production from the Padres’ bats. Mike Clevinger was solid enough in his second outing, and the bullpen kept the Cubs off the board until Taylor Rogers entered the game. Rogers allowed a run and loaded the bases, but he induced a deep flyout from pinch-hitter Frank Schwindel to get out of the game with a nervy win.

Mike Clevinger made a solid start, but one that was not reflected in his final scoreline. Clevinger worked 4.1 innings, allowed two runs, struck out six, walked two, and gave up six hits. Clevinger’s control was probably his weakest point, as he was not very efficient. It took him 91 pitches to navigate through his outing. They were busy innings for Clevinger, as in four of his five, he had multiple base runners. He navigated out of a jam in the first. The Cubs had runners on second and third with no outs, but a rundown at home, followed by a strikeout and a groundout, meant Clevinger got himself out of the sticky situation. The Cubs also stranded a pair of runners in the second. 

The Cubs finally got to Clevinger in the third, as Alfonso Rivas took him out of the yard. The two-run home run bounced off of center fielder Jose Azocar’s glove before skipping over the wall. Azocar was filling in for regular center fielder Trent Grisham, who is one of the best defenders in the major leagues. Grisham’s already robbed a home run this season, but Azocar was unable to replicate it. The first two batters that Clevinger faced in the fifth reached, and after inducing a flyout, he was lifted for rookie Steven Wilson. Wilson picked up his first career save earlier in the homestand, and he picked up two huge outs. Unfortunately, a run did come in on Austin Nola’s throwing error as he attempted to gun down Rafael Ortega as he swiped third base. 

The Padres’ bats were stellar with two outs, and the first inning was a perfect example of that. Jake Cronenworth and Jurickson Profar were retired to start the game, but the next five Padres players reached. Manny Machado walked before moving over to third on Eric Hosmer’s 108.2 mile per hour single. Machado came home on Wil Myers’ infield single. It was Myers’ first plate appearance since April 26, as he went on the 10-day IL with a thumb contusion. Luke Voit and Ha-Seong Kim walked, pushing another run across the plate. In the third, Austin Nola brought home Voit, giving the Padres the lead after the Cubs’ home run. Manny Machado stayed as hot as ever, doubling home Jake Cronenworth to put the Padres ahead in the sixth before Hosmer’s infield single brought Profar home. Interim manager Ryan Christenson said that it was “good to see some base runners out there.” while also highlighting the strong at-bats from Jake Cronenworth in the game. All five Padres runs came home with two outs, as they came up clutch.

Robert Suarez and Luis Garcia each got three outs and allowed a hit, meaning that the Padres were ahead going into the ninth. Taylor Rogers, who came into the game with a perfect 0.00 ERA, looked a great bet to keep that going. He quickly got the first two outs before getting two strikes on Seiya Suzuki. It looked like a Padres win was a sure thing, but two singles and two hit batters later, the Cubs had the bases loaded with two outs and the go-ahead run in scoring position. Frank Schwindel pinch-hit, and the power-hitting first baseman nearly got enough of it. Jurickson Profar caught the ball deep on the warning track, as Schwindel was a matter of feet away from being the Cubs’ hero. 

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Instead, Rogers picked up his 12th save.

The Padres’ last five wins have all come in one-run games, as they continue to win a way to win when it counts.

The Padres went 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position while the Cubs went 2-for-10, pushing the Padres to their narrow win.

Baseball is a game of inches, and it went the Padres’ way tonight. The Padres haven’t won many games comfortably, but they seem to be on the right side of tight affairs continuously.

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