SAN DIEGO — Has an earthquake really altered this Diamondbacks team? Did it really shake them to the point where they snapped out of whatever funk they were in?
Apparently that seems to be the case. Ever since the earthquake that struck Virginia, delaying batting practice for their Tuesday night game against the Washington Nationals, the Arizona Diamondbacks have won five straight. Granted they have been against lesser opponents, but wins are wins in late August as the Diamondbacks’ constantly look to maintain or increase their lead further in the NL West with the Giants’ keeping pace.
Joe Saunders, the Diamondbacks number five starter, out dueled San Diego’s ace, Aaron Harang in Saturday’s game. Saunders went seven-innings, allowing one-run on four hits. His opponent was limited to six-innings as he got hit seven times and allowed three-runs.
Arizona broke the game open in the fourth as Chris Young homered to left for a 2-0 lead. Earlier, Miguel Montero led off the inning with a single.
In the sixth, Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-out double and advanced to third on Young’s single.
The speedy Young was too much of a distraction for Harang to handle. He was determined to get him out and end the inning, but a bad pickoff attempt allowed Goldschmidt to score an insurance run as Young took third easily on the failed pickoff attempt.
San Diego trailed 3-0 entering the seventh and the closest they could get was an RBI-single by Will Venable that cut the deficit by two. But the Padres’ could not muster a hit when it was needed the most, leaving two stranded in the eighth.
In the ninth, J. J. Putz came in for relief and to close the game out to maintain at least a three-game lead over the San Francisco Giants who were still playing as the Padres game was winding down.
Putz continues to have no problem in the ninth, retiring all three batters he was scheduled to face. He earned save number 33, tied with two others for seventh.
Arizona will looks for the sweep, sending out Ian Kennedy for his 17-win and hope to continue riding their current 5-game win streak while increasing their lead in the West.
SAN DIEGO — Tim Stauffer shined in his pitcher-friendly PETCO Park as he allowed the Marlins’ only run of the game in the seventh.
Stauffer went six shutout inning and came within an out of going seven. But John Buck prevented that streak from happening as he hit a solo homerun with two-outs to give his Marlins’ a fighting chance.
San Diego got their runs early, scoring all three-runs in the first two-inning as that would be enough to defeat the Florida Marlins 3-1 Thursday evening.
Jason Bartlett doubled with one-out and Cameron Maybin followed with a single to advance Bartlett to third on the play.
The speedy Maybin stole second, but it would not have mattered had he stayed put as Jesus Guzman sent a line drive down the opposite field line for a two-run triple.
The Padres’ would triple again in the second, this time it was Nick Hundley with a leadoff knock to put San Diego in prime position to add more runs. They did as Logan Forsythe’s sacrifice fly gave the Padres a lead of three to zip.
However, once Stauffer singled in the inning following the sac-fly, the next fourteen Padres’ were retired in order with the next and last hit being a single by Kyle Blanks.
The Marlins’ bats were no better as they too only went for six-hits during the course of the game.
These two last-place teams continue their four-game series the rest of the weekend with Aaron Haran taking the mound for San Diego Saturday night.
CINCINNATI — San Diego scored early, but fell late against the Cincinnati Reds in a 5-3 loss at the Great American Ball Park.
Mat Latos, the Padres starter, had a great outing as he recorded his third straight start of pitching seven-innings. But it was his bullpen counterpart, Josh Spence, who evidently blew the game for Latos and his Padres comrades as he surrendered three-runs in the eighth that would give the Reds their first lead of the game and seal the deal as closer Francisco Cordero earned his 23-save.
The Padres scored a run a piece in the first and second to open a 2-0 lead. Jason Bartlett reached on an error by Reds starter, Bronson Arroyo, who would then proceed to walk Cameron Maybin. Jesus Guzman’s groundout advanced Bartlett to third, coming home on Orlando Hudson’s single to left. In the second, Nick Hundley would open up the inning with a solo smack to give the Padres their 2-0 lead.
However, the lead would be short lived as the Reds would cut it in half in the fourth as Paul Janish leadoff double would make it a one-run game on Jay Bruce’s RBI-double.
In the seventh, Miguel Cairo tripled with one-out and scored the tying run on Drew Stubbs single to make it a 2-2 ballgame before a crowd of 28,346.
In the eighth though, Logan Forsythe would single home Orlando Hudson who reached first on a leadoff walk giving the Padres the lead right back with just six-outs to be recorded.
Ideally, it seemed like a good time for a fresh arm from the pen with the top of the order lurking and Latos having already thrown 111-pitches. But two walks in the inning by Spence allowed the lineup to keep moving, giving Jay Bruce a chance at the plate with men on base. He did not hesitate at all, sending the second pitch of his at-bat into right-field for a 5-3 lead over the Padres.
Cordero pitched a quick and easy ninth needing just 12-pitch to retire all three batters on groundouts.
The last-place Padres will look to turn things around as they send Tim Stauffer to the mound to even up the series at a game apiece.
PITTSBURGH — The San Diego Padres have won back-to-back blowouts to earn their 50-win of the season after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-2; Friday evening San Diego won 15-5.
The Pirates are doing more than just struggling, but finding the right word to describe their current skid is not an easy task. Pittsburgh is now 7-15 since the break. They were in first July 19, but now find themselves on a 9-game losing streak with Sunday’s game possibly leading to the third consecutive sweep. Pittsburgh is slowly going back to once again being the losers of the NL Center with the Cincinnati Reds following suit.
San Diego will look for a third blowout of Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon to earn their third sweep of the season. In the first two-games of the series with Pittsburgh, the Padres have scored 28-runs to the Pirates 7-runs. The Padres have not scored 10+ runs in back-to-back victories all season, with the last occurrence going all the way back to April 19-20 of 2007.
Padres starter, Cory Luebke, got win number four after pitching seven-innings of one-run baseball. He allowed five-hits during the effort while getting nine Pirates to strikeout before he was pulled.
Paul Maholm, the Pirates starter, went 6 2/3 innings, but was the victim of a seven-run, 10-hit outing. The worst for Pirates pitchers had yet to come. With Maholm struggling to finish the seventh, Pirates manger Clint Hurdle put in relief pitcher, Chris Resop, who did not even record an out, being replaced by Joe Beimel after surrendering an additional four-runs.
Pittsburgh got a run off Luebke in the fourth as Matt Diaz’s leadoff double led to a run after Neil Walker followed with an RBI-single. The Pirates got their second-run of the game in the eighth on a Garrett Jones solo-homerun, but by then Pittsburgh was down 11-runs.
Evidently, the Padres did not waste any energy from the previous night’s game as Kyle Blanks RBI-triple in the second put the game right where it had left off. Rob Johnson followed with a sacrifice fly to bring Blanks home for an early 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, Johnson’s RBI-double drove in two more runs as both Orlando Hudson and Aaron Cunningham came home for a 4-0 lead. Johnson would take third base on a stolen base making it easy for Cameron Maybin to earn another RBI of his own as the Padres now led 5-0, but were far from done.
San Diego went off for six-runs in the seventh-inning, all of which occurred with two-outs in the inning. The inning began with a single by Cory Luebke, but quickly Maybin lined-out and Jason Bartlett grounded-out.
But the Padres countered the negativity with some positivity, six-runs of positivity to be exact.
Chase Headley’s RBI-single allowed the blowout inning to get underway. Another RBI-single, this time by Hudson, kept the lineup moving with Will Venable getting walked which loaded the bases. Blanks stood at the plate, and with one swing, cleared the bases, knocking his first grand-slam out of the park as the left-fielder completed a 5-RBI evening.
San Diego added two more runs in the eighth to go up 13-1 prior to Garrett’s homer in the bottom half of the frame.
The Padres hope to continue their rout of the Pirates when they send out starter, Mat Latos Sunday afternoon in the series finale. Pittsburgh however, will send Kevin Correia to the mound to hopefully prevent a double-digit losing streak and a third straight sweep in what will probably be a packed house.
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