SAN DIEGO, Calif. — It was too close for comfort Tuesday afternoon for the San Diego Padres. They had an 8-1 lead heading into the ninth, allowed four runs, and faced bases loaded.
They ended up winning 8-5 as closer Josh Hader came in late in the ninth inning to put the game away.
“Obviously, it wasn’t a great feeling there at the end, but we won the game, so we’ll settle on that,” Padres Manager Bob Melvin said.
Tuesday’s game felt different not only because it was the 4th of July, but it was the day Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani was scheduled to pitch.
A day before, most Padres players spoke about their excitement about facing the Japanese pitcher. Outfielder Juan Soto took it further and said, “he’s going to have trouble facing this lineup tomorrow.”
He was right.
It started as a normal pitching out for Ohtani. He was putting batters away with only one hit given up in the first three innings, which was a double by Padres first baseman Jake Cronenworth.
At the bottom of the 4th is when the game changed. Manny Machado hit a single with two outs, then Ohtani walked Xander Bogaerts. Cronenworth came back up and hit another double, but it was a two-run RBI this time.
“Today, we faced a really good pitcher, one of the best in the game, and it didn’t seem like he was as sharp, but we got to him scoring runs early,” Bogaerts said.
The Angels got a run after former Padre Hunter Renfroe hit a 382 feet home run at the top of the fifth inning to put things at 2-1.
Ohtani was able to calm things down in the fifth inning, only allowing one hit to Ha-Seong Kim but nothing dangerous.
Things got rough for him in the sixth inning when Machado started things off by hitting a single to right. Bogaerts came up next and hit a two-run blast to extend the lead to 4-1.
Cronenworth, with two hits already, gets his third by way of a home run. It was a back-to-back for the Padres to become the first player with three extra-base hits against the Angels pitcher.
“I was looking for a pitcher in a certain spot and just looking to put a good swing on it,” Cronenworth said. “Obviously, he’s got a bunch of different pitches, and he’s just executing super well. So, I just got lucky.”
Ohtani threw one more pitch, then he was taken out for what the Angels are calling a middle finger blister. Finishing the day 0-for-3 as a batter and 5 IP, 7 hits allowed, and a 5 ER.
His injury adds another player down for the Angels as superstar outfielder Mike Trout will be out for an extended period of time, while third baseman Anthony Rendon left this game with a left shin contusion.
Machado and Bogaerts added two more runs in the seventh inning to give the Padres a 7-1 lead.
For the Padres, this might be what they needed to jump-start them. Bogaerts and Cronenworth have struggled for the better part of the season, so after two strong outings, maybe things are turning around.
It was also a good outing by pitcher Joe Musgrove, who went seven innings allowed only three hits, one run, and struck out 11 batters.
“I had a lot of stuff working today that made it easy to pitch to the game plan and be a little unpredictable and keep guys off balance,” Musgrove said.
After coming off that rough road trip, maybe a series against the Angels is exactly what the Padres need, especially after a strong outing by Machado, Bogaerts, and Cronenworth hitting-wise.
“It would mean good stuff for us,” Melvin said. “Those are the guys we count on.”
They will look to sweep the Angels on Wednesday July 5th at 5:40 p.m.