Following Marlins, Reds, and Cubs losses earlier on in the day, the Padres and Giants both remained mathematically alive in the wild card race. This meant that the loser of Wednesday night’s game would officially be eliminated from playoff contention. Matt Waldron took the mound looking to bring another good start and he was able to do a nice job. He was able to limit the damage for San Diego while the offense fought hard to get the game even at 2. Heading into extra innings, clutch moments from Xander Bogaerts and Manny Machado gave the Padres a 3-run 10th as they secured a 5-2 win in the rubber match. While the playoffs are still a big long shot with just 3 games remaining in the regular season, the team will be happy knowing they got to play spoiler to one of their division rivals.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Waldron finishes the season on a high note
The previous 2 starts for Matt Waldron heading into his start against the Giants were both some of his best work. He had allowed just 3 combined runs in his last 11 innings pitched and was looking to keep his momentum rolling in the bay. After allowing a second-inning home run to Thairo Estrada and giving San Francisco the early lead, Waldron settled down and threw some solid innings. The Giants would only score once more against him on a single in the fifth inning from Tyler Fitzgerald, and were overall limited by the performance from Waldron.
He allowed just 2 ER over 6 innings pitched and struck out 2. It was his third solid start in a row and was definitely a promising way to finish the season. After starting his season with 5 straight starts in which the team took a loss and a 0-3 record, Waldron was able to finish strong with 3 competitive starts which the team won each time. He proved his ability to recover and bounce back, which the team should certainly be appreciative of.
Machado, Cooper show off some clutch hitting
With both Matt Waldron and Sean Manea pitching well, both the Padres and Giants struggled to put runs on the board early. San Diego found themselves fighting to get back into the game, down 2-1 heading to the 7th inning. Their only run of the game had come on a sacrifice fly in the 5th inning and the team was failing to generate any big swings. Finally, Garrett Cooper provided the big hit to give the Padres the burst of life that they needed. He blasted the game-tying solo home run to left field and knocked Manea out of the game.
Cooper did a great job helping the squad fight back and finished the day 2-4. The game would reach a stalemate for the next few innings, and San Diego would head into extras. This is where Manny Machado stepped up and delivered the big insurance hit to give the Padres some breathing room.
A Xander Bogaerts sacrifice fly had already given the Padres the lead, but Machado knew how important it would be to score more than just the “free runner”. He blooped a single into the right-field grass that would score 2 runs and pad the lead in a big way. This allowed things to go even smoother in the bottom half of the 10th, and the squad was able to put the dagger in any remaining playoff hopes for San Francisco.
The bullpen delivers some critical relief innings
After both starting pitchers had been relieved following their 6 innings of work, the bullpen units were left to carry the load and make the difference in the game. The Padres were lucky enough to get a gutsy performance from their bullpen that allowed them to get over the edge and stay in front. Scott Barlow kicked things off with a scoreless 7th inning before handing the ball to Ranger Suarez who tossed a scoreless 8th. Manager Bob Melvin made the big decision to go with his closer, Josh Hader, in the 9th inning to make sure that the Giants would not get to see a walk-off win just yet. Hader came through with a scoreless frame and sent the game to extras. In the 10th, Tom Cosgrove would come in to replace Hader after the Padres had grabbed a 5-2 lead. It took just 13 pitches for him to get the final 3 outs and cap off a dramatic extra-innings victory. On the night, the bullpen managed to throw 4 total scoreless innings while striking out 3 combined batters and walking 3. They did a brilliant job keeping the Giants off the board and lowering the pressure for the lineup to score at a high quantity. In the end, it all worked out and San Diego will get to enjoy the feeling of a series win on the road.
The Padres will have a day of rest on Thursday before beginning their final series of the year on Friday against the Chicago White Sox. While the odds of a playoff berth are still extremely slim and depend on the results of a wide variety of other games, the team will still do their best to finish the season on a good note and perhaps even secure an over .500 final record.
First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 4:40 p.m. PT.