Padres walk-off Phillies after wild rally


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Credit: Gregory Bull/AP

The San Diego Padres avoided the perfect game, then the no-hitter, then tied the game with late heroics, before walking it off in wild fashion against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Padres were one out away from losing their fifth straight, falling out of a playoff position for the first time all season and yet another excruciating loss. Then Aaron Nola, who allowed just one hit in eight innings, left a sinker just high enough for Jake Cronenworth to deposit a 410-foot blast over the right-centerfield wall. 

On the mound, Joe Musgrove, who saw Tyler Gilbert’s no-hitter hand him a loss in his last start, pitched fantastically after Odubel Herrera’s leadoff home run. Herrera took Musgrove’s second pitch over the right-center field wall, but Musgrove bounced back quickly.

The next two Phillies batters both reached base, but Musgrove then sat down the next eight batters. Bryce Harper broke that up with a single, but that was the final hit the Phillies picked up off Musgrove. He struck out nine batters and worked his way out of the early trouble to keep the Padres in the game. 

It appeared that Musgrove’s performance would be for naught, as the Padres did not reach base in either of their first two trips through the order. The Padres offense briefly rose from their slumber, with Manny Machado slapping a single over the leaping glove of second baseman Jean Segura. Despite the fact the Padres were hitless before Machado’s single, the game was tied thanks to Musgrove’s strong outing. 

The Padres starting pitching has been their doom for most of the last ten games, but it appeared that their bullpen might be the problem in Saturday’s game. Daniel Hudson, who worked a quick seventh inning, came back for the eighth inning but quickly gave up a double to Phillies starter Aaron Nola. After seven innings and one batter, Nola had two total bases.

Nola’s double-ended Hudson’s night, and Jayce Tingler chose Tim Hill. Hill didn’t allow a hit in the four batters he faced, but he walked two and hit one. The hit batter, Didi Gregorius, led to Nola scoring the go-ahead run. Hitting Gregorius ended Hill’s night, and the wild Austin Adams came in to try and minimize the damage. Adams struck out two batters but hit Brad Miller to extend the Phillies lead. 

The Padres bats went silent again in the eighth, going down in order, but that set up the top of the order for the ninth inning. Austin Nola, who had 99 pitches at the end of the eighth, came out to try and finish the game. Fernando Tatis Jr. worked a one-out walk, bringing the tying run to the plate. Manny Machado’s line out brought the Padres down to their last out.

Jake Cronenworth took three pitches, all of which were just outside the edge of the strike zone, working his way into a 3-1 count. Cronenworth took Nola’s 117th pitch out of the park, giving the Padres a lifeline and a lift. Padres manager Jayce Tingler raved about Cronenworth after the game. 

“Jake’s just a special player and he just keeps getting better…To keep that game alive, to tie it up, one of the biggest hits he’s had and he’s had some big ones.”

Trent Grisham hit a game-tying home run in Colorado while the Padres were down their final out on Monday night. Unfortunately for the Padres, four minutes later, Daniel Hudson allowed a walk-off home run. 

Mark Melancon came out for his second inning of work in the tenth inning, something he’s done just three times this season. The veteran closer managed to pick up a scoreless tenth inning, which is crucial with the runner on second base. The Padres were fortunate as Didi Gregorius’ line drive found Eric Hosmer’s glove, likely saving a run. Andrew McCutchen’s fifth strikeout of the game sent the Padres to the bottom of the inning, needing just a run to win the game.

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Adam Frazier picked up an infield single, sending Wil Myers to third, just 90 feet from winning the game. Ha-Seong Kim came into the game as a pinch-hitter, looking to win the game, but his ground ball was picked up and thrown home to snag Wil Myers in a rundown. Frazier, who moved to second without a throw, critically advanced to third as part of Myers’ rundown. Connor Brogdon’s pitch to Trent Grisham got away, Frazier came around to score, and Petco Park went bananas.

The Padres have struggled, but perhaps this is what they need to rejuvenate this group.

“It can definitely jumpstart us now…We gotta get back and get ready tomorrow.”

The Padres still are tied with the Cincinnati Reds for the final Wild Card spot, who’ve won their last three games. 

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