Padres overcome early deficit as Nola drives in three runs

Credit: AP Photo

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Credit: AP Photo

The San Diego Padres trailed by three runs before they even came to the plate, but that didn’t faze the team. All eight members of the starting lineup picked up a base hit on the evening. 

San Diego used eight pitchers as part of the bullpen day, with six of the eight putting up scoreless outings. The Padres batters strung together three hits in the first, fourth, and seventh frames in order to keep up with the Marlins offense.

Struggling closer Mark Melancon picked up a four-out save, working his way around a leadoff double in the ninth inning. Everything went well for the Friars in the end.

Craig Stammen picked up his second spot start of the season, and it did not go according to plan for the veteran right-hander. Stammen managed to induce a groundout to start his outing but allowed hits to four of the next five Marlins’ batters. That put the Padres into a three-run hole. Stammen surrendered another run in the second after a leadoff double followed by a single extended the Marlins lead. Stammen’s trademark ground ball turned an inning-ending double play, but Brian O’Grady pinch-hit for Stammen in the bottom of the inning, ending his night.

The resilient Padres offense answered the call, turning three straight two-out hits into a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, instantly slicing the deficit from three to just one. Austin Nola, who doubled home Jake Cronenworth for the second Padres run, continued his hot stretch, batting .414 since his return from his injury on July 22.

The Padres loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, picking up the lead thanks to runs on a wild pitch and a Tommy Pham single. Adam Frazier, who strikes out less than anyone else on the Padres, uncharacteristically struck out on three pitches. Frazier, who got off to a slow start in a Padres uniform, appears to have turned things around of late, hitting nearly .400 in August.

While Stammen, in the midst of one of the best seasons in his career, struggled through his outing, Miguel Diaz threw two strong innings in relief, facing just six batters in the two frames, thanks to a wonderfully executed line-drive double play by Jake Cronenworth. Diaz has been a huge surprise for the Padres, as he had a 6.62 ERA in his first three professional seasons, but he’s put together a solid season, with a 2.97 ERA thus far in 2021. Tim Hill, who leads the National League in appearances, added another outing to his solid season, throwing a scoreless fifth inning. Austin Adams worked a quick sixth inning, putting together his third straight outing without a walk for the first time in nearly two months. The right-hander has excelled for the Padres this season, putting together a 2.61 ERA in 38 innings.

Matt Strahm, who recently returned from his knee surgery, allowed a run for the first time in 2021. Strahm allowed a two-out double, which tied the game at five, as Miguel Rojas snuck a double down the right-field line. Jayce Tingler used every arm available from his bullpen except Emilio Pagan. A quick hook put Pierce Johnson into the game to keep it tied. 

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With a crucial go-ahead single from the red-hot Austin Nola in the bottom of the seventh, the Padres took a 6-5 lead. Nola slapped a sharp single into left, and Adam Frazier raced home to score what turned into the winning run. Drew Pomeranz came into the game, and after retiring the first two batters, he allowed a single. Pomeranz then left the game with an injury. More details will come in the coming days. 

The Padres will send Ryan Weathers to the mound on Wednesday, and they absolutely need a long outing for the left-hander. He’s allowed 14 runs in his last seven innings of work, as his ERA has ballooned to 4.26. With the Padres not having an off-day until August 19, and the majority of the bullpen being used in Tuesday’s effort, Weathers needs to find a way to get a big outing as the Padres search for a series sweep.

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