Padres secure series win over Royals with 7-3 victory


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After the San Diego Padres opened the series against the Kansas City Royals with an 11-8 victory Friday, Saturday began with terrible news: the loss of two crucial rotation arms.

The Padres placed right-handers Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove on the 15-day injured list, Darvish with a left groin strain and Musgrove with right-elbow inflammation.

In response to the roster moves, San Diego recalled Randy Vásquez from El Paso, and Padres skipper Mike Shildt gave the right-hander the start in place of Musgrove. For Royals manager Matt Quatraro and Kansas City, Alec Marsh got the nod, entering play with a 3.24 ERA.

In contrast to Friday’s affair, which began with five scoreless innings between both teams, the Padres and Royals traded runs early. In the top of the first, Fernando Tatis Jr. crushed a 422-foot solo home run to right-centerfield to give the Friars the early lead. Kansas City answered in the bottom of the inning and took a 2-1 lead when Vásquez hung a changeup which Vinnie Pasquantino launched into the bullpen for a two-run shot.

Vásquez and Marsh exchanged donuts in the second, but the Padres tied the score in the top of the third; Ha-Seong Kim led off the frame with a triple, and Luis Arráez plated him on a sacrifice fly to left field.

Again, the Royals answered in the bottom of the frame and took a 3-2 lead from another Pasquantino hit, an RBI single that scored Dairo Blanco. However, San Diego’s offense remained resilient and plated three runs for a 5-3 advantage in the visiting side of the fourth inning via a clutch bases-clearing double by Kim.

Marsh departed after five innings and allowed five earned runs on seven hits. Southpaw Will Smith entered first for Kansas City and tossed a scoreless frame. The Padres also went to the bullpen after Vásquez went five innings and surrendered three earned runs on five hits.

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Left-hander Adrián Morejón made his 15th appearance of the season and hurled a scoreless inning of his own despite allowing a lead-off double to Pasquantino. After getting the first two outs in the seventh inning, Morejón departed responsible for a runner on second. With the tying run at the plate, Jeremiah Estrada entered to face the top of the order.

Estrada allowed an infield single to Maikel Garcia and walked the dangerous Bobby Witt Jr. to load the bases. With the bases loaded, Estrada struck out Pasquantino with a 99-MPH fastball to maintain the 5-3 lead, which the Friars added to in the top of the ninth inning. “That was power vs. power. It was a great job by Jeremiah (Estrada),” Padres skipper Mike Shildt said proudly. 

Kyle Higashioka led off the final frame with his second round-tripper of the season just fair down the left field line. Arráez and Tatis Jr. both singled to place runners at the corners. Then, Jurickson Profar extended the Padres’ advantage 7-3 on a sacrifice fly.

Despite the non-save situation, closer Robert Suarez entered with a 0.72 ERA. The fireballer tossed a scoreless ninth for the win. In a day that began with the worst news possible, San Diego countered the unfortunate tidings with a series win against a very good Royals team. “It was a great team effort,” Mike Schildt said after the game. 

The Padres look to make it a three-game sweep tomorrow (6/2) with Michael King on the hill.

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