Blake Snell, who absolutely needs to step up for the San Diego Padres to make a playoff run, overcame his season-long road struggles to throw five innings of one-run ball.
Snell worked his way around six hits and three walks thanks to fantastic defense and clutch pitching. Across Snell’s five frames, he left seven runners on base, including a fantastic outfield assist by Wil Myers to get out of the second inning. In Snell’s first two frames, he worked his way out of a first and third with no outs in the first before working his way out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the second.
Snell’s only inning where he didn’t have to deal with a runner in scoring position was the fifth, in which Starling Marte homered, giving the Athletics their only run of the game.
Sean Manaea, who threw six innings of one-hit baseball against the Padres last Wednesday, didn’t have the same stuff on Tuesday night.
Tommy Pham led off the game with a 401-foot blast to center field, winning a nine-pitch battle with Manaea to get the job done. In the second inning, recent trade acquisition Jake Marisnick took advantage of two missed calls by home plate umpire Paul Clemons before singling home Austin Nola to double the Padres lead. Two batters later, the Padres led 4-0, with all three second-inning runs scoring with two outs. The Padres offense, who were without superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. and Adam Frazier, went 6-for-10 with runners in scoring position, finding ways to pick up hits when they needed it most. The Padres’ offense clobbered the ball, with 11 of the 14 hardest exit velocities coming off of the Padres’ bats.
The bullpen has been the biggest strength of the Padres for the entire season, and nothing changed on Tuesday night. Craig Stammen, who hasn’t allowed multiple runs in an outing since June 6, continued to excel, striking out two A’s in a scoreless inning. Matt Strahm made his first appearance in a Padres uniform since the 2020 postseason, as he completed his recovery from his knee surgery. Strahm, who struck out half the batters he faced in El Paso as part of his rehab assignment, struck out a batter in a scoreless frame of work. With the Padres starting pitchers putting together the 28th best ERA in July, the bullpen is more critical than ever, so bringing in another quality arm is crucial.
The Padres added two runs to their lead in the fifth inning, with Nola’s double down the line scoring Myers and Manny Machado. Nola, who hadn’t picked up multiple hits in a game since May 15, went four-for-five, driving in a pair of runs on the fifth-inning double. With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, Trent Grisham, who hit .178 in July, drove in Machado and Eric Hosmer to secure the win for the Padres.
The Padres closest rivals for the final wild-card spot, the Cincinnati Reds, lost 7-5 to the Minnesota Twins, extending the Padres’ advantage to five games. The Giants lost to the Diamondbacks, and the Dodgers dropped a redemption game against the Astros, bringing the Padres closer in the NL West race.