Patient Padres win opener against Cardinals, 5-4

Credit: AP Photo

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Credit: AP Photo

Petco Park- San Diego, California

The San Diego Padres started a crucial series short five position players against the red hot St. Louis Cardinals but came out victorious with a 5-4 win.

Patience was the key for the Padres, especially early against the Cardinals’ starter Johan Oviedo. Padres hitters drew 12 walks, including five off Oviedo in just two innings of work.

They showed the patient approach the coaching staff of the Padres has preached for over a year now, and it will pay dividends for the remainder of the series. Since Oviedo only pitched two innings, the Cardinals were forced to work deep into their bullpen in the opener of the three-game series. All four Cardinals relievers threw at least 20 pitches, so there will be a limited number of pitchers available for them on Saturday and possibly even Sunday.

Joe Musgrove started for San Diego, looking to break a streak of three straight rocky starts after his stellar beginning to 2021. The results for Musgrove were fine, giving the Padres five innings of one-run ball, but Musgrove struggled against the top of the St. Louis lineup and pitched with runners in scoring position frequently. Clutch defense and timely strikeouts helped Musgrove survive while being responsible for only one run.

“Having to navigate through that lineup, I think he got down to the fifth inning, and he was running out of gas, and he just laid everything he had out there,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “I thought he made some huge pitches with some traffic against some very good hitters and was able to get out of some of those jams.”

In addition to the Cardinals walking 12 batters, Musgrove walked four of his own. Five batters were also hit throughout the game, although Padres outfielder Patrick Kivlehan got rewarded first base despite the ball very clearly hitting his bat. The 16 walks, five hit batters, and 31 three-ball counts combined to make a very, very long baseball game. The contest started at 7:10 and ended at 11:20 PT.

Despite the 12 walks drawn, the Padres did not get much going on offense. They only tallied four hits, all of which came from the top three hitters in the lineup. Machado tallied two of the hits to continue his career-long tear of the Cardinals.

“I think he’s starting to swing the bat really well,” Tingler said. “I thought the ball that he hit in the first was about as hard as you can hit a line drive. I thought he did a really good job of staying in the zone, and then his second his maybe two or three feet away, it just hit the top of the wall. He was ready to hit every pitch.”

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Entering the eighth inning, the Padres led 5-1 with their lockdown bullpen in to shut the door. The Cardinals did not go down without a fight, blasting a home run off Emilio Pagan and Mark Melancon.

Game 2 between the Cardinals and Padres will start at 5:40 PT on Saturday. Chris Paddack will look to be much better than his playoff performance against St. Louis when he goes up against the veteran righty Adam Wainwright.

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