It wasn’t pretty, but the San Diego Padres edged out an 11-inning victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night in what turned out to be an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel.
On a night where the Padres struck out 15 times, left 11 runners on base, and were a combined 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, the Padres were able to find a way to win.
With Jose Azocar put on second base to start the 11th to pinch-run for Austin Nola, the Padres were officially out of bench players, minus the injured Manny Machado. After a strikeout of Nomar Mazara, the Diamondbacks walked Eric Hosmer to set up a potential double play. Jorge Alfaro made the Diamondbacks pay with a single to left field that scored the speedy Azocar to give the Padres a 3-2 extra-inning win.
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Both starters were excellent on the night, with Arizona starter Zac Gallen and Padres starter Sean Manaea both throwing six innings and allowing two runs. Gallen, however, was a little sharper than Manaea, striking out 11 Padres in his six innings of work and only walking three.
Manaea grinded out his six innings and, in the end, was just as effective and gave the Padres a chance.
With the score 2-1 in the sixth inning and Gallen looking like he was cruising, Hosmer drove an off-speed pitch over the wall in right-center that tied up the ballgame and changed the complexity of the game.
From there, the Padres’ bullpen took over and shut down the Diamondbacks’ offense, allowing no hits and no runs in five innings of work. Two times, the bullpen held Arizona scoreless in extras with a runner beginning on second base. In all, the San Diego bullpen struck out eight and walked two in those five innings of work and gave Alfaro and the Padres a chance to win it.
“It’s fun to be behind the plate with all those guys coming into the game. They just make it easier,” said Alfaro when asked about how important the bullpen was Tuesday night.
Steven Wilson was very impressive, pitching the 10th and 11th innings before being pulled with two outs in the 11th.
The Padres continue to find ways to win games, with the biggest factor being their strong pitching. While the offense was not doing a whole lot throughout the game, Manaea and the bullpen did what the Padres’ staff has done all year: put the Padres in a position to win.
“These guys keep coming. That’s kind of been the theme they’ve had all year, to continue to grind, to continue to come at people no matter what the score is,” said acting manager Ryan Christenson about the gritty victory for his team.
San Diego will look for a sweep of the Diamondbacks Wednesday afternoon with Mike Clevinger on the mound for the Padres.