With Cy Young candidate Blake Snell on the mound for the Padres, the team had high hopes of securing 2/3 against the Orioles and starting a winning streak. Things didn’t start off great as Baltimore opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly from Anthony Santander to take a 1-0 lead. The Padres would respond nicely in the third inning with 3 different RBI singles from Jake Cronenworth, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Xander Bogaerts to grab a 3-1 lead. Ryan Mountcastle would cut the Baltimore deficit to 1 with a solo homer in the sixth, but the Padres would come right back in the 7th to score 2 more times and put the game out of reach for good.
Here are three takeaways from the impressive victory:
Fernando Tatis Jr. steals the show (and home plate) in San Diego
As the Padres desperately needed to grab a rubber match victory over the Orioles, Fernando Tatis Jr. stepped up and made sure that things would go San Diego’s way. He went 3-4 in the game, including an RBI single in the third inning and 2 runs scored. Tatis Jr., who has been one of the most electrifying players in the big leagues ever since his arrival at the pro level, showed why the fans come to see him play every night. He came flying to the plate to steal home in the seventh inning and helped the Padres to grab an important insurance run for the bullpen.
After the game, he had some words regarding the importance of a win like the one on Wednesday and what it does for the team. “This is one of those games that just bring everybody up, hype everybody. You saw the momentum carrying away. … This is definitely what we needed as a team.” As far as the team’s momentum prior to the series, Tatis Jr. isn’t wrong. Things were beginning to go in the completely wrong direction for San Diego, and hopefully, a nice series win over a respected opponent will give the squad the energy to keep fighting down the stretch of the season.
Padre pitching staff performs well all game long
Blake Snell, who has been excellent for the Padres this season, took the ball in a big rubber match. He was able to pitch some crucial innings and keep things close enough for the San Diego offense to cruise to a lead. Snell threw the first 6 innings of the game, allowing 2 ER and striking out 5 batters. He brought his ERA on the year to 2.65 and made some further noise towards his potential Cy-Young case.
After Snell’s appearance, the bullpen was under some pressure to pitch solid innings and prevent a lead from slipping away in front of the home crowd. It was Nick Martinez who pitched a scoreless seventh inning, while Robert Suarez stepped up and delivered a scoreless eighth inning. Thanks to their clutch relief work, Josh Hader was able to enter in the ninth inning and collect his 27th save of the year to finish off a big win. As a staff, the pitchers showed their ability to come up big and stop an Orioles team that currently sits in first place in the AL East.
Rutschman held in check by the Padres
Adley Rutschman, the phenom catcher for the Baltimore Orioles, has been a crucial part of their success this season. Rutschman is hitting .267 with a .787 OPS. He rocks 15 home runs on the year as well as 58 RBIs. His offensive ability combined with his elite defense make him a major threat to any team that the Orioles will face for the rest of the season and into the playoffs. The Padres, however, did a nice job all series long to limit his production. Before Wednesday night’s contest in which Rustchman went 2/4, he had been held to 0/5 and 0/2 performances in the previous games of the series. San Diego was able to hold his average in the series to .182 and make sure that he did not cause any major damage. The ability to limit star players and their impact against the Padres in future series will go a long way in climbing back into postseason position.
The Padres, who are now off to a good start to their home stand, will play 7 more big games in a row at Petco Park. The next 4 will be against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who recently took 2/3 from the Padres in Arizona. San Diego will seek revenge and, more importantly, have a chance to gain some ground against another team that is also competing for an NL Wild Card spot. The time is now for the Padres to prove that they have what it takes to pose a legitimate threat. Their first game against Arizona will be on Thursday evening.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. PT.