On this rain-delayed Sunday afternoon, Joe Musgrove faced his former club in Pittsburgh for the second time since being traded in 2021. He looked right at home as he went seven strong innings, allowing one earned run with eight strikeouts on 92 pitches (61 strikes). He allowed two hits in the first inning, but the Pirates were unable to capitalize on the early opportunity.
It took until the second time through the order against Pirates starter Mitch Keller for the Padres to scratch across the game’s first run. The third inning started with a solidly struck single from catcher Austin Nola. Two batters later, Trent Grisham would hit a single of his own which brought up Manny Machado. Machado came into today’s ballgame on the heels of a red hot month of April; he picked up right where he left off with an RBI single to give the Padres the 1-0 lead.
In the top of the sixth, after Bryan Reynolds was plunked by a back-foot slider, Yoshi Tsutsugo blooped in a ball to left field, presenting Jurickson Profar the opportunity to add his fifth outfield assist, gunning down Reynolds at third base for a big second out, sniffing out a potential rally.
In the top of the seventh, the Padres got a two-out rally going with an Austin Nola hot smash that Cole Tucker was not able to make the play on for a tough-luck error. The next batter CJ Abrams lined a double down the right-field line. Trent Grisham brought them both home with his second hit of the day for a two-out two-RBI single, extending the lead to 3-0. The Pirates would commit a second error of the inning (third of the afternoon) on a pickoff attempt by Chase De Jong that put Grisham in scoring position. Jake Cronenworth was not able to take advantage, but the damage had been done.
The Pirates were able to add a run in the bottom of the seventh after a single by Jack Suwinski. The Padres were unable to complete the tag on a 3-6 double play bid, advancing the runner to second. A long single off the right-field fence by Roberto Perez brought in the runner in scoring position to break the shutout, 3-1 Padres. Also, in the inning, Padres manager Bob Melvin was ejected for voicing his displeasure with the home plate umpire over strikes called balls.
In the bottom of the eighth, Robert Suarez entered the game by walking the first two batters of the inning before allowing an infield single to load the bases with no outs. Pitching coach and presumptive temporary manager Ruben Niebla had seen enough from Suarez as he made the call for lefty sidewinder Tim Hill to get his team out of a huge jam. The Pirates called upon a pinch hitter and hero of last night’s game Michael Chavis to come up in a large spot. Hill was able to get him to fly out to the left fielder Profar, and as we have come to expect, a strong throw made it a close play at home, but the fleet-footed Bryan Reynolds was able to cross the plate for the Pirates’ second run. For the batter, the Pirates called upon a second consecutive pinch hitter Diego Castillo. Hill was able to get him to ground into an inning-ending double play to limit the damage to one, preserving the Padres’ advantage at 3-2. It was a slow-developing grounder to shortstop Ha-Seong Kim, but the strong throw from second baseman CJ Abrams proved just quick enough to retire the runner at first. The Pirates challenged the play, but there was not enough evidence to overturn the call on the field.
In the top of the ninth, Jose Azocar singled sharply to left, Nola singled for the second time in the game, he also took second base on the throw to third from Jake Marisnick, leaving runners at second and third with one out. CJ Abrams was able to get a hold of a low breaking ball to deep right-center for a sacrifice fly, stretching the lead to 4-2. Trent Grisham reached on an infield single bringing up Jake Croneneworth with runners on the corners and two outs. He lined a nice single the opposite way to bring home the fifth run of the night; on the play, Marisnick inexplicably threw the ball into second base, allowing Grisham to reach third base. Machado was not able to add the lead, but the all-important insurance had been added for the friars, as they led 5-2 going into the bottom of the ninth.
In the bottom half, Taylor Rogers entered his tenth game in his familiar ninth-inning role to close out the matinee. He worked a clean inning striking out two Pirates in the process. He earned his ninth save of the season and secured the fourth win for Joe Musgrove and the series win for the Padres, who are now 15-8 on the season.
The Padres are off Monday and get ready to take on the Cleveland Guardians. Mike Clevinger will make his season debut and first appearance since the end of the 2020 season. He takes on his former club, albeit under a new name, against fourth-year starter Zach Plesac.