With the Padres looking to finish off the Athletics and grab a sweep on the road, they went to Nick Martinez. Martinez, who usually sees his action from the bullpen, got a rare start and performed well to get San Diego through the first few innings of the game. Meanwhile, the offense would eventually come alive in the fourth inning as the Padres struck first to gain a 2-0 lead. Their momentum would only grow, and the runs would keep piling on while the rest of the pitching staff was lights out. The team would gain a whopping 10-0 lead in the top of the 8th inning as they secured a solid all-around victory to sweep Oakland and keep things rolling.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
Padre pitching staff delivers big collective effort
With starters Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove both ruled out for the rest of the 2023 season, the Padres have found themselves needing to lean on some unlikely names to deliver starting appearances. The latest player to step up was right-hander Nick Martinez, who typically comes into games from the bullpen. Making a rare start, he set the tone for what would be a great day for the San Diego pitching staff. Martinez got through the first three innings without allowing a run to score, as he only allowed 1 hit and struck out 5. His efforts as the “opener” were greatly appreciated and went a long way for the squad. Next into the game was Pedro Avila, who came out of the bullpen despite having more starting opportunities compared to Martinez as of recently. Nonetheless, Avila had a nearly identical outing to Martinez as he also pitched three scoreless innings and struck out 5. He also eventually managed to grab his second win of the year and improve his record to 2-2. By this time, the Padres had been able to grab a 4-0 lead and things were looking promising. Tom Cosgrove took care of the next inning with ease before handing it off to Ray Kerr, who got through the final 2 innings to secure the victory for San Diego. On a day in which the pitching depth on the roster was going to need to flex its muscles and step up, they did just that and kept the Athletics off the board until the 8th inning where it was too little too late.
Waldichuk gets tagged up by the San Diego lineup
In a game that the Padres would ultimately score 10 runs in, things remained surprisingly calm through the first few innings. Oakland starter Joe Boyle kept San Diego off the board for the first three innings before being taken out and replaced by Ken Waldichuk. Just like Pedro Avila, Waldichuk ended up coming in as a relief pitcher despite the majority of his outings coming as a starter. Things would not end up going his way, as the Padres tagged him for 6 ER on 9 hits through 4 innings. He would allow a couple of RBI singles as well as Juan Soto’s first home run on the day as the Athletics fell behind big.
Waldichuk suffered his 8th loss of the year to bring his record to 3-8 and his ERA to 5.40. The lefty had been on a solid streak of appearances before Sunday’s game, as he had gone 7 games in a row without allowing more than 2 runs. He will now have to take the rough game on the chin and look to bounce back as Oakland moves on from another tough series and tries to get to the finish line of the 2023 season.
Soto hits his first career grand slam in a monster game
If every other player in the Padres lineup did not get on base one time all game, the Padres still would have taken the contest thanks to Juan Soto. As he got the start in left field, his impact was made all game long. Soto would go 3-5 on the day, including 2 home runs (the second one being the first grand slam of his career).
His 6 RBIs would help push San Diego over the top as they rolled to the finish line in dominant fashion. The monster grand slam, which was his 32nd homer of the season, officially cemented him as a member of the “Slam Diego” crew. Despite the team’s overall struggles, Soto has made sure to maintain his status as a star player in the league, and he’s currently on pace to finish the season with 100+ RBI as well as an OPS above .900. Soto even has a chance to top the 34 home runs and 110 RBI that he put up in 2019 back with the Nationals, but it’s going to be a tight race with only a few more series to play this year.
Soto and the Padres will look to keep their win streak alive as they head back home for a series against the Colorado Rockies starting on Monday. Colorado is the last-place team in the entire National League and provides a nice chance for San Diego to keep the positive momentum going.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. PT.