<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Padres]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/feature/san-diego-padres http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Mon, 25 May 2015 06:46:35 -0700 Mon, 25 May 2015 06:46:35 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Padres Offense Has Moment of Catharsis]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 16:46:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/GettyImages-474655986.jpg

Since beating the Nationals 8-3 at Petco Park back on May 14, the Padres had not played very well. They lost seven of their next eight games, scoring a total of 13 runs while being shut out three times.

Frustration bubbled over on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. The Padres got a grand slam in the first inning from Justin Upton and never stopped swinging in an 11-3 win over the Dodgers.

Upton's slam was the fourth of his career. Interestingly, three of them have come against L.A. Justin also had a 2-run double in the second inning, giving him 6 runs batted in for the day and pumping his season RBI total up to 35 (4th-best in the National League).

Dodgers starting pitcher Carlos Frias had a miserable day. After surrendering Upton's slam, Frias allowed four more runs in the second inning on Upton's double and a 2-RBI single by Derek Norris.

In the 3rd inning Frias was touched up for a solo home run by Will Middlebrooks. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly brought his pitcher's day to a merciful end in the 5th inning. The final line for Frias: 4.0 IP, 12 hits, 10 earned runs, no strikeouts.

The Padres didn't need a fantastic start from James Shields, but they got one anyway. Shields threw six scoreless innings but gave up three runs in the seventh. Shields walked away with his sixth win of the year (against no losses) and even had a single at the plate.

In fact, every Padres starter had a hit. Will Venable had four of them. The Padres tied their season-high with 20 hits in the game. Now, what San Diego fans would like to see is that carry over to the 3-game series with the Angels that starts Monday in Anaheim.

Instead of scoring 11 one day then one or two the rest of the week, breaking it up and getting four or five every night would be a good way to go.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Nearly No-Hit By Dodgers]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 22:27:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*123/GettyImages-474571428.jpg

Before Saturday night's game against the Dodgers in L.A., Padres manager Bud Black tweaked his lineup again. He put Will Middlebrooks at shortstop and juggled the batting order, admitted the team needed to try and generate some offense.

This particular configuration needs to never, ever happen again.

Yangervis Solarte led off the game with a single, then Dodgers starter Mike Bolsinger retired 24 straight hitters in a 2-0 Dodgers win.

Solarte was erased when Cory Spangenberg hit in to a double play in that first inning. Bolsinger only needed 92 pitches and struck out eight in his 8.0 near-perfect innings. When Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen threw a perfect 9th he ensured the L.A. pitching staff faced the minimum: 27 batters for 27 outs.

I really never thought I'd see the day I longed for the 2014 Padres offense, but that might actually be happening right now.

Padres starter Ian Kennedy was the tough-luck loser. He threw 6.0 innings and allowed only two runs. One of them came courtesy of a solo home run by Joc Pederson on a pitch that was up around his eyes.

The Padres fall to 20-24. They're in trouble of getting swept in L.A. On Sunday James Shields takes the mound against Carlos Frias.

<![CDATA[Padres Have No Room For Error]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 23:52:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-474442564.jpg

This has now taken on the look, feel and frustration of 2014. The Padres lost to the Dodgers 2-1 on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Entering the game at the Padres and Dodgers had not scored a run in a combined 45 straight innings. You almost have to the trying to be that bad offensively, but these two clubs had pulled it off.

With Andrew Cashner and Zack Greinke on the mound, not much changed in game one of the 3-game weekend series. Cashner and Greinke both threw well enough to win but neither man did.

Cashner tossed 6.0 innings, allowing one unearned run and striking out three. Greinke threw 7.2 innings, giving up one run on a Will Venable single that scored Derek Norris. Both Cashner and Greinke took a no-decision.

With the game tied 1-1 and extra innings looming, Padres 8th inning specialist Joaquin Benoit gave up a long home run to Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson. L.A.'s only earned run of the night turned out to be the game-winner.

San Diego falls in to 4th place in the National League West. At 20-23 they're 6.0 games behind the first-place Dodgers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Gwynn Remembered in San Diego]]> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 15:27:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gwynn-Fans-4.jpg Legendary San Diego Padres baseball player Tony Gwynn was honored by fans after he died Monday morning.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Season in Images]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:30:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+pics+85+8.jpg Relive all the great moments from the San Diego Padres' 2014 season in photos.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Shut Out Padres 3-0]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 21:32:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/474318660.jpg

Kyle Hendricks pitched a five-hitter for his first career complete game and shutout, and Kris Bryant hit a two-run home run as the Chicago Cubs beat the San Diego Padres 3-0 on Thursday night to take two of three games.

Hendricks (1-1) struck out seven with no walks. Only one Padres baserunner advanced to second base.

Hendricks came in with six no-decisions in seven starts, including one against San Diego at Wrigley Field on April 18.

Bryant homered to straightaway center field on the seventh pitch of the game by Odrisamer Despaigne (2-3). Dexter Fowler was aboard on a walk for Bryant's fifth homer.

Bryant made his big league debut on April 17 against the Padres at Wrigley Field. He starred at the University of San Diego before the Cubs took him with the second pick overall in the 2013 amateur draft.

Bryant won the Golden Spikes award in 2013, when his 31 homers were the most in a season since toned-down composite bats replaced aluminum bats in 2011.

Bryant's parents, Sue and Mike, made the trip from Las Vegas for all three games.

Addison Russell homered leading off the seventh off Dale Thayer, his third.

Despaigne allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, struck out four and walked two.


Padres: RHP Brandon Morrow threw a bullpen as he tries to work his way back from right shoulder inflammation that landed him on the disabled list.


Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (4-2, 3.70) tries to improve to 5-0 in May when he faces the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a three-game series starting Friday night in Phoenix. He has a 1.67 ERA this month. The Diamondbacks counter with Josh Collmenter (3-5, 5.36).

Padres: RHP Andrew Cashner (1-7, 3.24) gets the nod when the Padres open a three-game series at Dodger Stadium. He's taken the loss in each of his last five starts despite posting a 3.55 ERA in that stretch. The Dodgers answer with RHP Zack Greinke (5-1, 1.52).

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Harper, Nationals Crush Padres At Home]]> Sun, 17 May 2015 16:20:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/162*120/473788104.jpg

It started so well. It ended so horribly. The Padres lost to the Nationals 10-4 on Sunday at Petco Park, dropping three out of four games in the series and falling back under the .500.

Other than that … how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

San Diego starter Ian Kennedy took a no-hitter in to the 5th inning. He left the 5th inning with the loss. Kennedy gave up a leadoff triple to Bryce Harper, then served up a 3-run home run to Danny Espinosa to put the Nationals up 3-2.

Washington tacked on four more runs in the 6th. Kennedy walked the bases loaded with nobody out and was replaced by Frank Garces. The left-handed reliever looked like he froze Harper with a breaking ball for strike three but home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called it a ball. Harper chopped the next pitch weakly down the 3rd base line for an infield single to score a run and things just unraveled.

Dale Thayer replaced Garces, getting Ryan Zimmerman to hit a sacrifice fly for the first out. Tyler Moore snuck a double down the left field line to score two more and put Washington up 7-2. It was out of reach even before Harper ripped his National League-leading 14th home run of the season to left in front of the Western Metal Supply building, a 3-run shot that gave the Nats 10 runs for the second game of the series.

The Padres had the lead thanks to some small ball and some big ball. In the first inning Abraham Almonte walked and stole second base against Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg (the former Aztec earned his 3rd win of the season). He took off for 3rd and Matt Kemp hit a ground ball up the middle. Almonte never broke stride and scored just in front of the throw from shortstop Ian Desmond to put San Diego up 1-0.

The other bright spot for the Friars was Justin Upton. The leftfielder hit a pair of solo home runs, giving him 10 for the season. Upton has hit eight of his 10 dingers at Petco Park.

The Padres fall to 19-20 on the year. They take Monday off before welcoming the Cubs to the East Village for a 3-game set starting Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mad Max: Fury In A Road Win Over The Padres]]> Sat, 16 May 2015 22:57:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/473665204.jpg

I'm really starting to feel sorry for Andrew Cashner. Not only do the Padres not play good defense behind him, they aren't scoring any runs for him.

The latest setback was a 4-1 loss to the Nationals on Saturday night at Petco Park. In his eight starts, the Friars have let in 11 unearned runs. That leads the National League in a stat no pitcher wants to lead the National League in.

In his seven losses, San Diego has scored a grand total of 12 runs. It's hard to put many digits in the "W" column when your offense contributes less than two runs a game, something the Padres did once again against Max Scherzer.

The Nationals ace was as good as his $210 million contract says he should be. Scherzer threw 7.0 shutout innings, allowing only four hits and striking out 11 San Diego batters. The Padres offense is in another one of its long funks.

They pushed across a run in the 9th inning when Alexi Amarista slapped a single to left field off reliever Aaron Barrett to score Justin Upton. It was their first run since the 4th inning of Thursday night's 8-3 win over Washington, a scoreless span of 21 straight innings.

The Padres can still salvage a series split, and avoid falling under the .500 mark, on Sunday afternoon when they send Ian Kennedy to the mound against San Diego native Stephen Strasburg.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rady Children's Hospital, Padres Celebrate Young Champions]]> Sat, 16 May 2015 20:17:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Padres_At_Celebration_Of_Champions_1200x675_446671427959.jpg

The work Rady Children's Hospital has done for years to help kids, not just in San Diego but around the world, is astonishing. It's not just the medical services that set them apart. It's the overall care and support for the families that's so admirable.

Saturday morning at Embarcadero Marina Park, the Padres helped with the 20th annual Rady Children's Hospital Celebration of Champions. It's a relay where 300 children who are fighting, or have beaten, cancer carried the "torch of life" an eighth of a mile each to raise money for the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Yonder Alonso, Cory Spangenberg and more accompanied the kids. Over the last two decades, this even has raised more than $6.5 million for Rady Children's Hospital.

A Champion named James even taught Myers how to calf rope by practicing on a rock. Or, at least, he tried to.

Congratulations to everyone involved, and a heartfelt Thank You for the wonderful work you do.

(videos courtesy of the San Diego Padres)

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<![CDATA[Padres Pummeled at Petco]]> Fri, 15 May 2015 22:46:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/163*120/473541730.jpg

Padres pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne was amazing in his first few appearances of the year. He filled in wonderfully when Ian Kennedy was on the disabled list, allowing just three earned runs in 18.1 innings.

However, his second stint as a fill-in starter did not get off to as good a start. Despaigne allowed four runs in the first inning alone on Friday night against the Washington Nationals, who got him for seven runs in 3.0 innings on their way to a 10-0 shutout at Petco Park.

Despaigne threw a whopping 88 pitches in those three innings of work. He was relieved by Shawn Kelley, who threw 2.0 innings and only allowed one run on a long solo home run by National League HR leader Bryce Harper.

Harper's 13th dinger of the year flew over the Jack Daniel's Deck in right field. Washington tacked on two more against Frank Garces, who ate up 3.0 innings to help this game mercifully come to an end.

The Padres offense managed seven hits, all of them singles, and left seven runners on base. It seems when things go south for this year's Padres, everything goes really far south at the same time.

Saturday evening Andrew Cashner takes the mound against Max Scherzer.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres End Mariners' 4-Game Win Streak]]> Wed, 13 May 2015 22:26:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/473232950.jpg

James Shields became the first San Diego pitcher since 2007 to start the season 5-0, Will Middlebrooks homered for the first time in nearly a month, and the Padres ended the Seattle Mariners four-game win streak, 4-2 on Wednesday night.

Middlebrooks' solo homer leading off the third inning was his fourth of the season and first since April 19. Cory Spangenberg added a sacrifice fly in the third and Abraham Almonte had an RBI single in the seventh as the Padres split the brief two-game series.

Shields (5-0) struggled to get through six innings, but became just the sixth pitcher in Padres' history to win his first five decisions and first since Justin Germano in 2007. Shields gave up his major league-leading 12th homer to Brad Miller in the fifth inning but otherwise kept Seattle off the scoreboard a night after the Mariners hit six homers.

<![CDATA[What Is Wrong With The Padres Pitchers?]]> Wed, 13 May 2015 11:45:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/473099246.jpg

When the Padres finished Spring Training in Peoria, AZ, a couple of months ago we knew they were a much-improved team, but certainly not a perfect team. There was a long list of things that could make them struggle this season, including (but not limited to):

-    All the new pieces not fitting together
-    Lack of offensive production from the infield
-    Sub-par overall team defense
-    Injury concerns
-    Lack of a “true” leadoff hitter
-    Lack of an everyday starting shortstop
-    Not knowing where to play everyone or who fits best in to certain roles
-    A sink hole opening in the East Village and swallowing Petco Park
-    Zombie Apocalypse

What is not on the list is the San Diego Padres allowing the most home runs in Major League Baseball. After Tuesday night’s batting practice session where the Mariners hit six dingers, the Friars staff has surrendered 50 HR in 34 games. Seriously, the Zombie Apocalypse would have been more believable than this happening.

It comes completely out of nowhere. This staff only allowed 117 long balls for the entire 2014 season, and with the additions of James Shields, Brandon Morrrow and Craig Kimbrel you would have thought it got even better. Check out the home run totals for the Padres pitchers every year since Petco Park opened in 2004:

-    2014 = 117
-    2013 = 156
-    2012 = 162
-    2011 = 125
-    2010 = 139
-    2009 = 167
-    2008 = 165
-    2007 = 119
-    2006 = 176
-    2005 = 146
-    2004 = 184

This season they’re on a pace to allow 238 home runs, more than twice as many as last year. Want to know how crazy that potential number is? The National League record for most home runs allowed in a single season is 239, which was set by the 2001 Colorado Rockies.

We’re talking about Coors Field in the pre-humidor days, back when it gave pitchers nightmares. Has Petco Park really become akin to that launching pad a mile above sea level? Or is there something else at play here?

While we don’t have definitive answers yet there are plenty of things that are not working. One is on the pitchers themselves. One interesting statistical quirk is the Brewers have given up 49 homers, right behind the Padres. Care to take a guess which teams lead the National League in strikeouts?

If you said the Padres and Brewers, give yourself a hand. In fact, the high strikeout rate is very likely tied to the high home run rate. Pitchers who throw hard tend to get a lot of whiffs, but are also susceptible to giving up more home runs. That’s just physics; if you throw it harder and the batter connects it’s going to fly farther.

So far in 2015 the Padres pitching staff is averaging 93 MPH on its fastballs (average between 4-seam and 2-seam), making it the hardest-throwing staff in all of baseball. Last year, when they only gave up 117 long balls, the Padres staff averaged 91.7 MPH, putting them in the bottom third of the league in velocity.

The harder you throw, the farther it goes. But only if you’re not putting it where you want to, which brings us to another problem.

"I think, overall, we've been in too many bad counts and too many fastballs and breaking balls left out over the plate,” Padres manager Bud Black told mlb.com writer Corey Brock after Tuesday’s loss. “Right now, overall, the first month and a half here, too many pitches not executed. We've got to do a better job of making pitches.”

Far too many times the Padres pitching staff has left pitches up in the strike zone, where they’re able to be lifted out of the park. When you add the extra oomph on the heater to putting it in a spot where hitters can reach it, you have yourself a recipe for disaster.

Now, perhaps this is just an anomaly and revered pitching coach Darren Balsley will get his guys back under control. But if it really is a season-long issue and the Friars continue to watch opposing teams launch souvenirs in to the bleachers, then that new offense will have to figure out how to score runs on a more consistent basis to keep San Diego in playoff contention.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Long Balls Doom Padres in Rout ]]> Tue, 12 May 2015 22:50:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/473099256.jpg

The Seattle Mariners went deep early and often against the Padres on Tuesday, slugging six home runs in an 11-4 rout.

Kyle Seager got the long ball parade started with a three-run homer off Padres starter Ian Kennedy, who allowed five runs on eight hits and didn’t get through the fifth inning.

“I think the problem was too many balls in the middle (of the plate) and not getting enough on the corners,” Bud Black said of the team’s pitching woes.

The Padres (17-17) had chances, but left the bases loaded twice. Yangervis Solarte had a two-run single in the seventh to pull them within four runs. But the M’s (15-17) were right back at it with two more homers in the bottom of the inning.

Nelson Cruz hit his MLB-leading 15th home run in the eighth. James Paxton pitched six scoreless innings for the win. Mike Zuzino added a pair of long balls for the hosts.

The teams play again Wednesday night at Safeco Field before the Padres head home to host the Washington Nationals this weekend.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Explaining The Myths Of Baseball's Great Debate]]> Tue, 12 May 2015 00:39:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/472887446.jpg

Baseball history is sometimes defined by eras. No, not Earned Run Averages, I’m talking about the periods of time that represent the way the game was played.

You have the Dead Ball Era, which gave way to The Golden Era, and led seamlessly in to the Modern Era. But now it seems we have now entered a new time frame in baseball’s history and this one is still looking for a name. I think we can narrow the moniker down to two possibilities:

The Information Era or The Misinformation Era.

Advanced analytics and statistical analysis have crept in to baseball and taken root. The revolution known by many as Sabermetrics has influenced front offices for years, changing the way many teams evaluate talent. That much is undeniable and for the most part it works.

Now there’s a push to start using statistical analysis in every day baseball life. Fans want managers to follow the numbers and projections when making in-game decisions. Many are already doing that, like the Cubs’ Joe Maddon and the Padres’ Bud Black.

Speaking of Buddy, he’s the reason this piece is being written. During a recent loss to the Diamondbacks Black left pitcher Andrew Cashner in to hit for himself with the bases loaded and two outs in the 6th inning of a game the Padres trailed (and would eventually lose) 2-1. This decision caused a titanic backlash on social media, a debate I briefly took part in.

One side says it was a galactically stupid call by Black because the analytics dictate you pinch-hit there. The other side says there are other factors to consider and maybe the call was not all that bad.

I wondered … what do the people who make the analytics think?

“If this was October and the game was of significant importance we would say, analytically, that’s probably the wrong call,” says David Cameron, managing editor and a senior writer at www.FanGraphs.com, one of the most commonly referenced analytics sites for baseball fans. “Historically the numbers show that the difference in expected runs going from even a good starting pitcher to a mediocre reliever is smaller than going from a pitcher hitting to any kind of position player, especially if you have a Matt Kemp or a Derek Norris on the bench. The upgrade in that one at-bat is worth more runs than handing the ball to a 6th or 7th-inning reliever for an inning.”

Black did indeed have both Kemp and Norris available to pinch-hit. This is the point most often cited by fans of the analytics. However, Cameron is smart enough to take the next step in the thought process, which is to realize people who are not in the clubhouse are not fully in the know.

“From our perspective, the best thing people can do is understand what we know and what we don’t know, especially when it comes to manager critiques,” said Cameron. “We don’t do it very often on the site; very rarely, in fact. Maybe in the post-season if there’s something really egregious.”

In the specific case of Black not pinch-hitting for Cashner several other factors must be accounted for, like the fact the Padres were playing with a short bullpen that day.

“We know that we don’t know anything about player health, especially about what pitcher was available on a certain day. There are all kinds of playing time decisions that have numerous factors that we can’t possibly know. This is one of those instances where it’s May, the bullpen is exhausted and he’s playing the long game and he says, you know what, trying to win this one game or pushing my percentage points three or four or five percent to win this one game isn’t worth potentially blowing out one of my reliever’s elbows. I’m short-handed today and trying to give these guys rest. At that point I would say let him do whatever he wants. It’s May. The game does not matter nearly as much as keeping his guys healthy for the next 130 games. If this was September or October and it’s the Wild Card game and it’s elimination, he should have pinch-hit. But it’s May he can do what he wants.”

Cameron and his crew at FanGraphs are not the only ones who feel this way.

“I have seen a number on instances where I felt like the manager pulled out all the stops to win that game to the detriment of the team,” says Vince Gennaro, President of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning Baseball. “Buddy’s gotta manage this thing for a 162 game marathon. If he thinks going to someone else in the bullpen is going to be a big problem for him in terms of containing runs, I can see the point of not wanting to manage the game like it’s Game 7 of the World Series. You want to win but you’ve got to take in to consideration the bigger picture.”

Ah, yes. The bigger picture. That’s the thing that seems to have been lost in this (Mis)Information Era. Fans of the numbers tend to discount the feel or gut instinct a manager has. Old-school baseball folks are hesitant to validate numbers because they either don’t understand them or can’t believe a computer printout understands the pro game more than 20 years of playing it.

Like most things in life, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

“Even if they read FanGraphs or Baseball Prospectus, fans often have a fraction of the information that a manager or general manager has when he’s making a decision,” says Gennaro. “It’s important that teams are looking at all sorts of data points when they’re making decisions, but they’re also looking at a great deal more than what is in the public domain and those factors have to figure in to the decision.”

Aside from injury factors is something often overlooked in the game: baseball players are people, too. They’re not chess pieces you can certainly move around on a board at will and expect to perform the same way every time. A manager has to be as much of a therapist as he is a tactician.

“You’ve got to consider those personal factors when you’re making decisions that go beyond what the data might tell you. The data is filled with assumptions,” says Gennaro. “I’ve seen a lot of managers in the National League do similar things to what Buddy did. It’s so hard from where we sit to second-guess that.”

But second-guessing is part of the fan’s right. Heck it’s part of the fan’s job. But if it’s going to be done it must be done intelligently and with a touch of humility. Fans are armed with more information than they’ve ever had access to before. They simply need to be careful with how they use it.

“Obviously some people are going to care about context and some people aren’t,” says Cameron. “Our goal is to educate and provide tools to people to understand and enjoy the game a little bit better.”

“We all do it as fans,” says Gennaro. “We sit there and say, I can’t believe he did that. But from being around the game I’ve learned that there are so many other factors that figure in to it. I think those are important things.”

Eventually, one day down the road, analytics and experience will live harmoniously in baseball. Perhaps the first manager to use them synergistically will end up in the Hall of Fame.

Questions like, “to pinch-hit or not to pinch-hit” will forever be a part of the game. Fans today are lucky enough to have a wonderful new way of looking at those dilemmas and are more educated than ever on the subject. However, trying to assume one way of analyzing it superior to another way when all the pertinent factors are unavailable to you is irresponsible.

I mean, you wouldn’t want anyone making a decision that turned out to be wrong because he or she only looked at one part of the situation, would you?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Questionable Decisions Doom Padres]]> Sun, 10 May 2015 17:53:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/472887432.jpg

There will be a lot of second-guessing about the Padres’ 2-1 loss to the Diamondbacks on Sunday. Most of it involves replacing players, which has Padres fans calling for a replacement of the manager.

Andrew Cashner was, once again, the tough-luck loser. He allowed two earned runs in 7.0 innings, both on solo homers, but watched his record fall to 1-6, which is criminal for a guy with a 3.07 ERA (insert frustrating rant about how useless the WINS stats is for pitchers here).

Cashner was involved in one of the game’s more controversial decisions, but not on the mound. In the 6th inning the Padres had a rally going. Jedd Gyorko had doubled in a run to cut the D-Backs lead to 2-1 and was standing at 3rd base with the bases loaded and two outs when Cashner’s spot in the order came up.

Padres manager Bud Black decided to let Cashner hit for himself instead of sending in either Matt Kemp of Derek Norris, who were both getting a day off to rest but available to pinch-hit. The thinking was; Cashner was throwing well and San Diego’s bullpen was on fumes after a string of outings so making them go at least four innings would be difficult. Cashner hit the ball hard but right at shortstop to end the inning and the threat.

In the 8th inning, Buddy made another curious decision. With runners at first and second and one out he let Alexi Amarista hit instead of going with a pinch-hitter. Amarista is batting .167 with runners in scoring position this season. Of the guys on the bench, Kemp is hitting .256 with RISP; Norris is batting .419 and Yangervis Solarte, a fellow infielder who could step right in and not burn another player in a switch, is hitting .444 with runners in scoring position.

Amarista grounded in to an inning-ending double play and the game was basically over. The first situation with Cashner was a complete toss-up with no right answer. The one with Amarista, however, seems to have been a blown call by Buddy.

San Diego falls to 17-16 on the year. They take a day off and head to Seattle for a quick two games starting on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jimmie Johnson Wins Again]]> Sat, 09 May 2015 22:56:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/166*120/472815186.jpg

If the NASCAR Sprint Series is racing on a 1.5-mile track, assume Jimmie Johnson is going to be in the mix.

The El Cajon native has won four of the last six races at that distance and, after Saturday night's win in Kansas in the Spongebob Squarepants 400 (no, I am not making that up), J.J. has 23 career wins at the 1.5-mile distance, an all-time record.

Early in the race Johnson had drifted back to 36th place but on a restart with six laps to go he was sitting third. Jimmie blew past Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick and held on for his series-leading 3rd win of the season.

Harvick finished second, maintaining his overall points lead. Johnson sits in 3rd place, 48 points behind, heading to another track he knows well in Charlotte.

<![CDATA[Extra Exciting Extra Inning Win For The Padres]]> Sat, 09 May 2015 21:58:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/472814968.jpg

It took a lot longer than they wanted, but the Padres ensured themselves at least a split of their 4-game series in Arizona with a crazy, 6-4, 12-inning win over the Diamondbacks on Saturday night. The game had more surprise twists than an M. Night Shyamalan film (I mean, of course, the early stuff like The Sixth Sense, not the later stuff like After Earth).

Padres starting pitcher Tyson Ross threw well enough to snap his career-long 3-game losing streak, but ended up with a no-decision. Ross went 6.0 innings, striking out six and allowing two earned runs. Well, he should only be on the hook for one earned run.

In the 4th inning David Peralta hit a sinking liner to left field. It landed a few feet in front of Justin Upton, but for some reason the left fielder still tried to slide and make a play. It was unsuccessful. The ball skipped by all the way to the wall and allowed Paul Goldschmidt to score from first base.

Ross left trailing 2-1, but in the 8th inning the Padres helped him out. Diamondbacks manager sent left-handed pitcher and former Padre Oliver Perez to face the left-handed hitting Cory Spangenberg. Padres manager Bud Black countered by sending in Jedd Gyorko to pinch-hit. Jedd ripped a double to left-centerfield and scored the tying run on a Yangervis Solarte double. Solarte scored on a double by Derek Norris and the Friars were in control.

They scored another in the top of the 9th, setting up Craig Kimbrel to get his 10th save. But, that did not happen. Kimbrel walked Jordan Pacheco with two outs, allowed a single to Aaron Hill, then got touched up by Danny Dorn. The 30-year-old rookie roped a 2-run double, the first RBI of his big league career, and the game was ticketed for extra innings.

It looked like the D-Backs would win it in the 10th. The first two runners reached against Brandon Maurer. That’s when the San Diego defense came up large. Peralta thought he had a single up the middle but shortstop Alexi Amarista made a diving stop on the bag to get an out. With runners at the corners and one out Cliff Pennington hit a liner towards right but Gyorko, with the infield in, dove to his left to snare it and double off the runner at first base.

In the 12th, the Arizona bullpen blinked. Justin Upton made up for his defensive lapse with a solo home run to left-center, his 8th of the season, to put the Padres up 5-4. They got one more on an Amarista RBI single but would not need it.

Kevin Quackenbush, who played the role of the closer for a time in 2014, threw the 11th and 12th innings to get his first win of the season.

The Padres improve to 17-15 on the year and can win the 4-game set on Sunday when Andrew Cashner takes the mound.

<![CDATA[Remembering Mr. Padre]]> Sat, 09 May 2015 20:04:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/451294826.jpg

Saturday, May 9th, 2015 would have been Tony Gwynn’s 55th birthday. The pain of his passing is still heavy on a lot of our hearts, but I found myself thinking about Mr. Padre and instead of getting misty-eyed I actually started to smile.

My favorite Tony Gwynn memory came on September 14th, 1998 and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was working in Palm Springs in my first job as a news producer. The Padres were hunting the National League pennant and the Cubs were coming to Qualcomm Stadium with slugging Sammy Sosa. My girlfriend at the time was from San Diego and a big Padres fan so we decided to take off from work and see a ball game.

It was a perfect night for baseball. Like, even more perfect than normal. The game was fantastic. Sosa struck out four times. Greg Vaughn and Ken Caminiti both went deep. Trevor Hoffman got the save, the first time I’d ever heard Hells Bells in person.

But in my eyes, Tony stole the show.

With the game tied at two in the 7th inning Gwynn ripped a double to score Chris Gomez. It was his only hit of the night but as a left-handed hitting kid growing up loving baseball seeing Gwynn and that swing in person was always a treat. I remember the anticipation in the crowd for each at-bat, how it was just different, more personal.

I remember feeling privileged to have seen one of the greatest hitters of all time deliver for his adopted home town again. I also remember looking at my girlfriend and thinking, “This girl is really cool, she likes baseball.”

17 years later a few things have changed. I still call Tony Gwynn one of the greatest hitters of all time … but now I call that girl my wife (and thanks Tony for helping plant that seed in my head).

So, what’s your favorite Tony Gwynn memory?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Is It Time For MLB To Go Tobacco-Free?]]> Sat, 09 May 2015 20:17:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/75852147.jpg

On the day “Mr. Padre” Tony Gwynn should be celebrating his 55th birthday, I was thinking of the best way to pay tribute to the greatest sports figure our city has called our own. While it won’t happen today, I think the best thing we can do in his memory is make sure his death teaches us a lesson and ban tobacco in Major League Baseball.

Gwynn passed away June 16, 2014 from salivary gland cancer he believes was the result of being a longtime tobacco chewer. Gwynn began his cancer battle in 2009 when he had a malignant tumor removed from his right cheek. His cancer returned twice and towards the end of 2012 Gwynn began radiation treatment to try and shrink the tumor.

Throughout the difficult times Mr. Padre fought and fought. Now it’s our turn to see a change and San Francisco is leading the way.

On May 8th the city by the bay became the first U.S. city to ban smokeless tobacco at sporting venues. The ordinance goes into effect January 1, 2016 and includes AT&T Park; home of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who was a team mate of Gwynn's and managed him with the Padres. Bochy has chewed tobacco on and off for decades but quit at one point with help from a hypnotist.

"It's a tough deal for some of these players who have grown up playing with it and there are so many triggers in the game," Bochy added. "I certainly don't endorse it. With my two sons, the one thing I asked them is don't ever start dipping."

Major League Baseball has banned chewing tobacco at the minor league level but run in to resistance from the MLB Players Association. Anti-smoking groups who support the measure say it sends the right message to kids who see baseball players as role models.

We want to know what you think about this. Would you like to see San Diego follow suit and adopt a ban on tobacco at sporting venues? Or do you think it infringes on people's personal rights?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Shields Shelled, Padres Still Win]]> Sat, 09 May 2015 00:02:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/472649402.jpg

The Padres signed starting pitcher James Shields to a big free agent contract to win games like this.

The Friars had lost three out of four games, all the losses by shutout. They needed a stopped to get back on track. Shields is supposed to be that stopper.

He ended up getting the win, just not in the manner that was expected.

Shields gave up four home runs to the Diamondbacks on Friday night at Chase Field in Phoenix, but his offense showed up to bail him out in a 6-5 Padres win.

The Padres had a pair of players come close to hitting for the franchise's first cycle. Wil Myers, making his first career start at first base because Yonder Alonso went to the 15-day disabled list, went 4-5, falling a triple shy of the feat. Will Venable, making the start in centerfield because Myers moved to first, went 3-5 and was only short a double.

In all, half of the Padres 12 hits were for extra bases. Cory Spangenberg got the start at 2nd base and was on base five times (a triple and four walks).

On Saturday the Padres send Tyson Ross to the mound. He'll try to break his 3-game losing streak, the longest of his career, against Arizona starter Chase Anderson.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Bud Black? Not So Fast, Padres Fans...]]> Fri, 08 May 2015 21:27:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/472455158.jpg

Until the Padres win the World Series there is going to be a drumbeat thumping away for the Padres to fire Bud Black. I understand the sentiment; Just not the logic.

The last time the Padres went to the playoffs was 2006, when Bruce Bochy was their manager. Bochy’s success in San Francisco has, I’m sure, impacted the way Padres fans feel about Black but the Giants roster has been superior to the Friars for years.

Now that Buddy has a group of legitimate big leaguers to run out there every day the expectations are playoffs or bust. So sitting at around .500 in to May is not hacking it for most fans just looking for an excuse to make a change at the top.

I will admit I’m a Bud Black fan. His 2010 performance was tremendous and I think he can replicate that with a decent lineup (something he certainly has now). But, I’ll remove that and take an objective look at the current situation to see if the Fire Bud Black movement has any merit.

First off, the Padres are still in the “get to know you” phase of their development. You don’t churn up 60-percent of your roster in one off-season without expecting an adjustment period. So, this is a bit of a grace period that I think we can let last until the start of June.

One of the biggest complaints about Buddy is the way he assembles his lineups. He is definitely a tinkerer. Black is a big fan of analytics and tries to mix and match lineups to give his team the best shot at winning that day. One difference this year is the outfield.

It’s been Justin Upton in left batting 4th, Wil Myers in center leading off and Matt Kemp in right batting 3rd, with only a couple of scheduled days off for rest. On the infield is where the juggling has come, but not as much as it seems. Here’s the breakdown of how Black has doled out playing time for his infielders through 31 games:

1st base: Yonder Alonso, 24 starts; Yangervis Solarte, 6 starts; Wil Myers, 1 start
2nd base: Jedd Gyorko, 16 starts; Solarte, 9 starts; Cory Spangenberg, 6 starts
3rd base: Will Middlebrooks, 24 starts; Solarte, 5 starts; Spangenberg, 2 starts
SS: Alexi Amarista, 23 starts; Clint Barmes, 8 starts

It would appear the only true platoons are at second and short, although Middlebrooks may have hit his way in to less playing time with a recent slump and Alonso’s trip to the disabled list will open up more audition time for Myers at first.

In the batting order, the infield and catcher are on a bit of a rotation that’s based on where Derek Norris is the best fit for that night, which is normal for most big league managers. The pitching staff has been handled the same way it always has been, but this year the guys in the bullpen have not been as effective at protecting leads as they usually are, which is really (with a few exceptions) not the manager’s fault. He’s using them in the same situations, just getting different results.

So we go to clubhouse chemistry. Regardless of what sport we’re talking about, more often than not the team takes on the identity of the manager or the head coach. The Padres have long been known for the scrappy nature and fight, one of the only reasons their lack of talent amongst position players has not led to a series of 100-loss seasons. That comes from the manager.

Now, I will admit it remains to be seen how Black handles a team full of established All-Stars, especially if things start going really bad. Speaking of going really bad, that has not happened yet.  More than a few teams have gotten off to much worse starts and gotten it together in time to win the World Series.

1991 Twins: 2-9
2002 Angels: 6-14
2003 Marlins: 19-29 (On June 18, 2003, the Marlins were in last place in the NL East at 34-49)
2013 Red Sox: 2-10

The only one to make a mid-season managerial change was the Marlins, and as much credit as Jack McKeon deserves for that title is also had a little to do with Josh Beckett, Mark Redman, Greg Holland and Kevin Olsen back from injuries as the season wore on.

In conclusion, the call to fire Bud Black is premature and based more on a pre-existing bias or frustration than an evaluation of the Padres performance thus far in the 2015 season. If the Friars are still middle in the middle of June, then we can talk.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Lose Another Starter to Injury]]> Fri, 08 May 2015 18:20:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/470592742.jpg

The Padres had to put another starter on the 15-day disabled list before Friday night's game in Arizona. This time their most consistent hitter is going on the shelf.

1st baseman Yonder Alonso is out with a bone bruise in his right shoulder. He was initially injured when he was hit by a pitch against the Rockies a few games back and aggravated it on Thursday night diving to stop a ground ball at first.

Alonso leads the Padres in batting average and on-base percentage. Outfielder Abraham Almonte was recalled from Triple-A El Paso to take Alonso's roster spot, leading to an interesting lineup change. Starting centerfielder Wil Myers is making his first career start at first base against the Diamondbacks.

Myers worked at the new position during Spring Training to start getting used to it. Statistically he is one of the worst defensive centerfielders in the Major Leagues through the first 30 games of the season.

The Padres also activated relief pitcher Shawn Kelley from the 15-day DL and sent Ramona native Nick Vincent back to AAA.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Shut Out Again]]> Thu, 07 May 2015 22:00:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/472455310.jpg

The Padres were shut out for the third time in four games on Thursday, falling 11-0 to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Starter Odrisamer Despaigne was tagged for eight runs in five innings, including a four-spot in the first inning.

The Padres (15-15) were held to just three hits, including a double each by Derek Norris and Yangervis Solarte. But that was about all D’backs pitcher Rubby De La Rosa allowed in seven scoreless innings.

Mark Trumbo hit a solo homer for Arizona (13-14) in the fateful first and Paul Goldschmidt added another solo shot in the third.

Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso appeared to suffer a right shoulder injury when he fell diving for a ball in the eighth inning. Manager Bud Black said he didn’t know Alonso’s status after the injury.

“No update, we’ll know tomorrow,” Black said. “But he landed on his right shoulder. Jammed it. It’s sore. We’ll have some doctors look at it night, and have some images tomorrow.”

The loss drops the Friars into a second-place tie with the San Francisco Giants, four games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. They play the Diamondbacks again Friday night in Phoenix.

<![CDATA[Padres Salvage One Win by the Bay]]> Wed, 06 May 2015 16:02:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/472365632.jpg

Padres super-prospect Austin Hedges made his first MLB start on Wednesday afternoon against the Giants. If the rest of them are like this, the kid is going to the Hall of Fame.

The Padres beat the Giants 9-1 to salvage the final game of their 3-game set at AT&T Park. On offense Hedges got his first Big League hit, an RBI single in the 3rd inning that put San Diego up 5-0. Austin drove in another run with a sacrifice fly.

But a catcher’s true impact is made behind the plate, and that is where Hedges separates himself. Starter Ian Kennedy threw 7.0 innings and looked stellar, allowing one run on six hits with five strikeouts. Kennedy was relieved by Brandon Maurer, who threw a perfect inning, and Frank Garces, who finally issued the staff’s first walk with one out in the 9th inning.

Hedges has a natural (almost supernatural) ability to frame pitches and has learned rapidly how to call a game at the Major League level. Getting his pitching staff to only issue one walk in a full game is a heck of an accomplishment.

It's fitting that Hedges made his first start behind the plate with Kennedy on the mound. In the off-season the two Southern California natives tried to meet up for a bullpen session and Kennedy asked manager Bud Black if Hedges could catch him during Spring Training.

I asked Ian about the rookie and he had nothing but good things to say about how the youngster handles himself behind the plate. Throughout the game you could see Kennedy's confidence in working with Hedges.

Of course, it gets a lot easier to get your pitcher in a comfort zone when he has a big lead. Kennedy was staked to that in the third inning. Before Hedges got his knock Matt Kemp, Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko and Alexi Amarista all had RBI base hits. The Friars scored five times in the inning.

All-in-all, five different Padres starters had multiple hits and every guy in the lineup (including Kennedy) had at least one knock except outfielder Justin Upton, but he walked four times. San Diego rang up 16 hits against six different Giants pitchers.

Up next for the Padres, a 4-game set in Arizona against the Diamondbacks. Odrisamer Despaigne will be starting in place of the injured Brandon Morrow. He’ll face D-Backs starter Rubby De La Rosa.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Shut Out Padres for Second Game]]> Tue, 05 May 2015 22:10:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/472292392.jpg

The Padres were shut out for the second straight night on Tuesday, falling 6-0 to the Giants in San Francisco.

After managing just two hits on Monday night, the Friars (14-14) were held to four on Tuesday, none for extra bases.

Padres starter Andrew Cashner struggled with control all night, allowing all six runs on seven hits and three walks. He didn’t get any help in the field, as a pair of errors led to two unearned runs.

The Padres had their best scoring chance in the sixth, loading the bases with two out. But Derek Norris grounded out meekly to end the inning.

Ryan Vogelson struck out four while blanking the Padres for seven innings. Brandon Crawford had three hits for the Giants (14-13) and Joe Panik added a solo homer.

The teams finish their three-game series Wednesday afternoon.

<![CDATA[Bumgarner Pitches Giants Past Padres for Win]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 22:32:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/472198508.jpg

Madison Bumgarner carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning on the way to winning back-to-back starts for the first time this season, leading the San Francisco Giants past the San Diego Padres 2-0 on Monday night for their fourth straight win.

Bumgarner (3-1) outdueled Tyson Ross (1-3), striking out six and walking one as each starter threw 107 pitches. Bumgarner left to a standing ovation in the top of the eighth and tipped his cap as he gave way to Sergio Romo.

The reigning World Series MVP didn't allow a hit until Justin Upton's leadoff single in the seventh just got past reaching shortstop Brandon Crawford. In consecutive starts, Bumgarner has beaten Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers and now Ross -- shutting down two of the NL's best lineups.

The left-hander, who hit a pair of grand slams last year, also ended an 0-for-11 start at the plate with a fourth-inning single.

Angel Pagan hit an RBI single and Justin Maxwell drew a bases-loaded walk as the Giants built Bumgarner a 2-0 cushion in the third that held up. They wasted Brandon Belt's leadoff double in the second and committed four errors.

Bumgarner faced baserunners in three of his first six innings, two of whom reached on errors. Wil Myers walked in the third.

Before Upton's hit, only a couple of balls were hit hard by the Padres, a fly to right-center by Ross to end the fifth and a flyball to left from Derek Norris in the sixth.

San Francisco beat the Padres at home for the fifth time in the last six meetings between the NL West rivals. San Diego took three of four to begin this season at Petco Park, but had its three-game winning streak snapped in the opener of this series.

Catching prospect Austin Hedges made his major league debut when he struck out as a pinch hitter in Ross' spot to begin the eighth, the last batter for Bumgarner. Romo struck out both batters he faced and Santiago Casilla finished the two-hit shutout for his eighth save in 10 chances.

Hedges was called up from Triple-A El Paso, drove to the Bay Area from Sacramento on Sunday night and immediately got his chance from manager Bud Black, who said before the game he doubted he would use his backup catcher as a late-game bat off the bench.

Pagan stole his third base of the year following a two-out single in the first and got a spike in one of his left fingers from second baseman Jedd Gyorko. Casey McGehee ended the third by grounding into his majors-leading ninth double play.


Padres: INF Yonder Alonso received treatment and was very sore a day after being hit in the back by a pitch. He tried swinging a bat earlier Monday, but experienced discomfort.

Giants: RF Hunter Pence is still testing his fractured left forearm and took batting practice Monday and will do so again Tuesday. He will have Wednesday off then likely a couple more days hitting before beginning a rehab assignment. "He's feeling fine, not any setbacks," manager Bruce Bochy said. ... RHP Matt Cain (flexor tendon strain) is close to throwing a bullpen while RHP Jake Peavy (back strain) could soon begin a rehab outing.


Giants reliever Romo was one of eight people in the state to receive a Latino Spirit Award from the California Latino Legislative Caucus for his work in the community. He received the award earlier Monday at the state capitol.


Padres: RHP Andrew Cashner (1-4, 2.61 ERA) makes his third road start of the season looking to avoid a three-start skid.

Giants: RHP Ryan Vogelsong (0-2, 9.31 ERA) tries again for his first victory while making his fourth start in place of Peavy.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Padres Future Is Now: Get To Know Austin Hedges]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 12:21:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/465446726.jpg

If there's one thing the Padres have proven in the last six months, it's that they are motivated to win RIGHT NOW. General Manager A.J. Preller traded away a large chunk of the franchise's minor league system to get guys like Justin Upton and Craig Kimbrel, but he was able to keep two of the team's top three prospects.

One of them is about to make his MLB debut a bit sooner than most people expected.

Catcher Austin Hedges is being called up for Monday night's game in San Francisco. Hedges has long been regarded as one of the best defensive catching prospects in baseball, and now his bat may be catching up to his glove.

Hedges is hitting .324 with a pair of home runs and 15 RBI in 21 games at Triple-A El Paso, by far the best offensive numbers of his 4-plus year professional career. The Padres have All-Star Derek Norris behind the plate, and the way he's playing (.337 average with 11 doubles) he's not going anywhere.

But, Norris has started 22 of the team's 26 games and backup Wil Nieves only has one hit (although it was a big one, a grand slam to help beat the Giants) while allowing a league-high 3 passed balls in only four starts.

On Monday the Padres released Nieves to make room for their prized rookie.

As a 22-year-old, Hedges has an advanced understanding of the game. I got to spend some time with him in Spring Training this year and was immediately impressed with his demeanor, attitude, and willingness to learn from the veterans around him.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Break Out The Brooms: Padres Sweep Rockies]]> Sun, 03 May 2015 16:25:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/472082180.jpg

The Colorado Rockies are used to games with a long of home runs. They play at Coors Field, after all. But they're certainly not used to seeing this many hit at sea level.

Last year, in 81 games at Petco Park, there were 101 home runs hit by the Padres and their opponents. This year, through 16 games, there have been 38 home runs hit.

It could be the new offense, some bad pitches, the new scoreboard changing wind patterns, or the explanation I like best; reparations for having to watch awful, boring baseball for the last half-decade.

The Padres hit three more dingers on Sunday afternoon en route to an 8-6 win over, and 3-game sweep of, the Colorado Rockies.

The first of the long balls came in the first inning. Matt Kemp was hit by a Kyle Kendrick curve ball and Justin Upton hammered the next pitch 398 feet in to the left-centerfield seats, his seventh homer of the year. Upton also doubled twice and drove in three runs.

Long ball number two came courtesy of catcher Derek Norris. In the fourth inning Norris ripped his second of the year to left, another 2-run blast to put the Padres up 5-3.

They needed all the offense because starter James Shields had his worst outing in a Padres uniform. Shields allowed a pair of homers, as well, both to Rockies 3rd baseman Nolan Arenado. Shields lasted 5.1 innings, giving up five runs, but still got the win.

The last Padres homer of the day was the largest. Jedd Gyorko, mired in a season-long slump, unloaded in the 6th inning. His 2-run blast flew 438 feet to dead centerfield, landing next to the large hedges sitting in front of the batter’s eye. It was Jedd’s first HR of the year and turned out to be the game-winner.

The Padres head up to San Francisco to start a 3-game series against the Giants on Monday with Tyson Ross on the mound against Madison Bumgarner.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Fans Answer Decade-Long Question]]> Sun, 03 May 2015 13:53:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/226*120/Petco+Park+Panorama.JPG

Petco Park prides itself on having an abundance of seating options ranging from Suites to the Park at the Park. But which ones do Padres fans prefer?
The NBC 7 San Diego Sports Wrap crew hit the confines of Petco Park before a recent game to get fans opinions on where they think the best seat in the house is to catch a Padres game.

Their answers were vast ranging from the five-dollar Park at the Park to Field Box VIP seats that’ll cost you up to $104 depending on the series and game day. But when your team is playing as well as the Friars, is there really a bad seat in the house?
We want to know what you think. Where’s your favorite spot to catch a game at Petco Park? Leave your response below and you just might help someone find his or her new favorite seat.
If you want to see the Padres in action you can buy tickets on the teams official website here.

<![CDATA[Padres Offense Erupts Against the Rockies]]> Fri, 01 May 2015 22:57:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/471890068.jpg

In his first start since coming off the disabled list, Padres RHP Ian Kennedy gave up eight runs and didn't make it out of the fifth inning in a lopsided loss to the Dodgers. In his second start, he could have done the exact same thing and his team still would have won the game.

The Padres scored 14 runs on 14 hits and, in a true shocker for one of the better defensive teams in baseball, four Rockies errors to beat Colorado 14-3 on Friday night at Petco Park.

After his awful outing last weekend, Ian said he'd, "... figure it out by Friday." He certainly did. Kennedy went 6.0 innings and only allowed two runs, both on solo homers, to get his first win of 2015.

The Rockies started the game with the fourth-best fielding percentage in the league but in this game they came completely unglued. Colorado made three errors in the fourth inning alone, helping the Padres score four times and take a 5-0 lead. Keep in mind, this is a team that had made just 12 errors in 21 full games this year.

Despite the defensive melt down, the Rocks were still alive when the 8th inning started. Then the Padres bats went batty.

The Padres batted around in the 8th before recording a single out. It looked like this:

Walk, walk, bunt single, error, single, single, single, double, single. Will Middlebrooks made the first out of the inning, but it was still a productive one. His sacrifice fly scored Derek Norris with the Padres' 14th and final run of the night.

The Padres send Brandon Morrow to the mound on Saturday night against Jorge De La Rosa, who the Padres roughed up for seven runs in 2.0 innings a couple weeks ago in Denver.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Chargers Share NFL Draft Day Memories]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 19:41:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/143695259.jpg

Watching the NFL Draft can be exhilarating, nauseating, hilarious, or a useless waste of time, depending on your point of view (and I guarantee all of those are represented by somebody you know).

But that's for us watching to see WHO gets drafted. What's it like for the guys watching to see WHEN or even IF they get drafted?

Well take all those emotions and multiply it by 10 ... then you might be in the ballpark. So, for the week of the 2015 NFL Draft, we asked a few current Chargers to give us their Draft day memories.

King Dunlap was selected in the 7th round (230th overall) by the Eagles. Going so late motivated him to become a starting left tackle.

Brandon Flowers went in the 2nd round (35th overall) by the Chiefs, but that came as a surprise to him.

And my personal favorite tale comes from Jacoby Jones, who was a 3rd round pick (73rd overall) in 2007 by the Texans. To say it was an emotional day at his house is ... well, you'll see.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Padres Closer Brings Attitude To Match Stuff]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:02:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/167*120/470122694.jpg

When a trade is made and a new component is added to a team, you're never really sure how it's going to work. Most of the time the fresh face moves seamlessly in to the flow of the franchise's every day activities.

Sometimes the new guy becomes a leader like Matt Kemp and James Shields have for the Padres. What a team really hopes does not happen is the deal upsets clubhouse chemistry. So when San Diego made a deal to get closer Craig Kimbrel on the eve of Opening Day there was a risk that some of the good will and companionship the Friars had built up during Spring Training would erode.

General Manager A.J. Preller said he looked at Kimbrel's make up before the deal and didn't think the 4-time All-Star's personality would be a problem. He was right, and then some.

Kimbrel, who brings a 98-MPH fastball and a frisbee slider to the mound with him, has already become a clubhouse favorite, and not just because of his production.

Kimbrel has converted all six of his save chances in 2015, but even more important than that, he's brought some serious attitude to the back end of the Padres bullpen.

The kid from Hunstville, AL, made a good impression when he struck out the side in Los Angeles in his first Padres appearance.

He made a great impression when he brushed back Giants outfielder Angel Pagan after Pagan tossed gum at San Diego catcher Derek Norris, sparking a little verbal confrontation. That let everybody in the Padres organization know, if you have an SD on your cap, Craig Kimbrel has your back.

In that Giants game Kimbrel worked a scoreless inning and walked off the mound staring in to the San Francisco dugout, letting them know the Padres would NOT be pushed around by the defending World Series champs.

After getting the save on Sunday to salvage one of the three games against the Dodgers, Padres manager Bud Black discussed the impact Kimbrel has had in just 20 games in San Diego.

 As the popular TV ad says, every kiss begins with Kay. With Kimbrel working the 9th, the Padres could say every win ends with a K.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Padres Update: Scanlan Breaks Down Dodgers Series]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 07:47:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*121/471272928.jpg

The Padres avoided getting swept at home by the Dodgers,but the fact remains: the only two series San Diego has lost this year have been to Los Angeles.

Padres radio color announcer Bob Scanlan, one of the brighest baseball minds in broadcasting today, joined NBC 7's Derek Togerson to talk about the series, the season so far, and where the Padres can go from here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Padres Get Big Win, Avoid Sweep]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 20:57:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*121/471265748.jpg

When he was drafted 6th overall by the Mariners in the 2006 MLB Draft, Brandon Morrow was supposed to be an ace. He has the stuff for it. But, while he’s been effective, injuries and bouts of wildness have kept him from truly becoming that front-of-the-rotation starter.

He came to the Padres from Toronto on a one-year deal, hoping to win the 5th starter job in Spring Training. He did that, narrowly beating out Odrsiamer Despaigne, and looked pretty good in his first two starts. But on Sunday at Petco Park, Morrow looked like the man he always knew he could be.

Morrow threw a gem against the Dodgers, helping the Padres avoid a sweep with a 3-1 win. Brandon tossed 7.0 innings, allowing just one run (a solo home run to Alex Guerrero) on five hits, striking out four and only walking one. Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel threw a scoreless inning each to secure Morrow’s first win in a Padres uniform.

Speaking of firsts, the Padres added a few more to a season already flush with them. Shortstop Alexi Amarista hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot off Dodgers starter Scott Baker in the 3rd inning. Catcher Derek Norris provided the rest of the offense. In the fourth he doubled home Matt Kemp to put the Padres up 2-0. Norris has nine doubles this season, tied for second-most in Major League Baseball. No other catcher has more than four doubles.

In the 7th inning, Norris smashed a solo home run down the left field line for his first dinger as a Padre. San Diego avoided being swept by Los Angeles but did suffer its first series loss at home since July of 2014. The Friars had gone 11-0-1 in their last 12 series played at Petco Park.

San Diego falls one game behind the Dodgers in the National League West. The Padres open a 3-game series against the surprisingly good Houston Astros, who are in first place in the American League West, on Monday in the East Village.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Light Up Padres Pitching Staff]]> Sat, 25 Apr 2015 21:17:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/184*120/471157220.jpg

The Padres bats came alive again at Petco Park, proving they have the ability to overcome a big deficit. The problem is they keep having big deficits to overcome.

The Dodgers blitzed San Diego starter Ian Kennedy on Saturday night, jumping out to leads of 3-0, 6-3, 8-3 and 10-3 en route to an 11-8 win. Kennedy was basically making his first start of the season. He left the Padres home opener on Opening Week with a hamstring injury in the 3rd inning.

Kennedy gave up three runs in the first, a pair coming on an Andre Ethier home run. Ethier was in the starting lineup because Yasiel Puig is nursing a hamstring injury.

San Diego’s offense got Kennedy off the hook once with a 3-run first inning of their own. Facing Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy, Wil Myers hit his first career leadoff home run and Justin Upton smacked a 2-run, opposite field shot to score Matt Kemp and hit the reset button.

But in the 2nd inning, Kennedy missed with a pitch to the wrong guy. Adrian Gonzalez hit a towering 3-run home run to right field, putting L.A. up 6-3. It was the 6th home run Gonzalez has hit in five games against the Padres this year.

Kennedy stayed in the game and made it to the 5th inning, where Howie Kendrick drove a 2-run shot over the wall in straightaway center to put the Dodgers up 8-3. That’s when Padres manager Bud Black went and got Ian, who allowed eight runs on eight hits on the night.

Lefty Chris Rearick relieved Kennedy, and didn’t fare much better. Rearick served up a 2-run shot to Juan Uribe that put the Dodgers up 10-3 in the 5th inning. However, the Padres made it interesting.

They scored four runs in the 6th inning, three of them coming on Upton’s second homer of the game. Justin ripped a 420-foot shot to the beach over the right-center field wall. It’s the 8th multi-homer game of his career and first in a Padres uniform.

In the 7th inning the Padres lost one of their biggest offensive threats when Kemp was ejected by home plate umpire Marty Foster for questioning a strike zone that was fairly inconsistent the majority of the game.

Overall the Padres and Dodgers combined for 13 extra-base hits (7 HR, 5 doubles, 1 triple). On Sunday Los Angeles can finish the 3-game sweep when they send former Padre Joe Wieland to the mound against Brandon Morrow.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Suffer A Big Loss]]> Sat, 25 Apr 2015 14:52:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/yoder+2.jpg

The San Diego Padres have the best playing surface in Major League Baseball. That's not just me saying that.

Big leaguers from other clubs who sign with the Padres have mentioned how superior the infield at Petco Park is to other ballparks. The hops are more true, the speed is more consistent.

The man responsible for that is head groundskeeper Luke Yoder. Or at least, it was until now.

In a statement to released to NBC 7 Sportswrap on Saturday, the Padres announced Yoder has left the organization:

"Luke resigned from the Padres to pursue other business ventures. We wish him the best and are thankful for his years of services to the Padres organization."

Yoder has not publicly revealed a reason for the move, but the website www.yoderballfields.com is currently under construction so he may be establishing his own construction or consulting company. His leaving is a huge loss for the Padres, as it would be for any team hoping to enjoy a home field advantage by having playing conditions be as close to perfect as possible.

Luke joined the Padres staff in 2003 and has overseen field preparation every single season at Petco Park. Before coming to San Diego he was working for the Pirates at PNC Park, another of baseball's surfaces.

He also helped the San Diego community in general. Luke helped the University Of San Diego with their infield and mound at the newly designed stadium and has had a hand in upgrading several high schools and little league facilities around the county.

Yoder has even traveled abroad to fix ball fields, recently assisting Korean baseball leagues.

The Padres have not announced who will take Luke's place but whoever it is has some awfully big gardening boots to fill.

Photo Credit: Scott Wachter/The San Diego Padres]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Shut Out By Dodgers]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 22:28:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/167*120/471020572.jpg

This time, there would be no comeback.

The Padres ran in to Dodgers’ ace 1-A Zack Greinke and although San Diego starter Andrew Cashner threw pretty well, the highest-scoring offense in the National League suffered its second shutout of the season in a 3-0 loss to Los Angeles.

Greinke threw 7.0 innings, striking out seven Padres hitters. The only real threat the Friars mounted offensively was in the second inning when the first three batters reached base. But, with the bases loaded and nobody out, Alexi Amarista and Cashner struck out then Wil Myers lined out to second base.

On the mound Cashner was much better than he was in his last start against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. He went 7.0 innings with six punchouts, allowing just two runs. San Diego’s offense couldn’t back him up, finishing with six hits, five of them singles (Matt Kemp’s 8th inning, 2-out double was the only extra-base hit).

The Dodgers take a 1-game lead over the Padres in the National League West. On Saturday the Padres get Ian Kennedy back off the disabled list to make the start against Brandon McCarthy. Kennedy left his first game of the season after three innings with a hamstring injury.

Speaking of hamstring injuries, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig left Friday night’s game after re-injuring his left hamstring running out a ground ball. The ailment caused Puig to miss four games earlier this season.

The Padres fall to 1-3 against the Dodgers this season and have suffered their first 3-game losing streak on 2015.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Make Roster Moves For Dodgers Series]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:44:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/456395710.jpg

It's about as big as a 3-game series in April can be.

Petco Park. Padres vs. Dodgers. San Diego and Los Angeles tied for first place in the National League West.

If the Padres win the series, it will be HUGE for setting up the rest of the year. But if they lose another set to the prohibitive division favorites ... well, that would be bad. The Padres have heard one of baseball's old sayings far too often.

"You can't win a division in April, but you can lose it," said 3rd baseman Will Middlebrooks.

"You can't win a pennant in April, but you can lose a pennant in April," said catcher Derek Norris, in a completely different conversation.

For the last four years the Padres have, indeed, lost the division in April, so this is a welcome change.

The Padres made a roster move getting ready for the series against the Dodgers. Relief pitcher Shawn Kelley, who has taken two of the team's seven losses, went on the 15-day disabled list with a left calf strain. In his place, the Friars recalled Kevin Quackenbush from Triple-A El Paso.

Quack has actually trimmed his signature beard, cutting it nearly in half. So was it a superstition or team-building kind of thing that led to the change?

"Nah, it was just a fresh start," said Quackenbush. "Starting new."

Another something new will be the crowd. The Padres expect a majority of Padres fans to show up on all three days, something that has not happened very often in recent years as Dodgers fans have made Petco Park a version of Chavez Ravine South.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Lose to Rockies 5-4 ]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 21:17:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/470753268.jpg

San Diego Padres' attempts to pull off a third win against the Colorado Rockies were in vain as they fell to their rivals 5-4 at Coors Field Wednesday night. 

The Friars opened the night tied for first place in the National League West and jumped out to an early lead, like they have the entire series thusfar.

Yangervis Solarte hit his second homerun of the season, a solo shot in the first inning.

But the Rockies rebounded by pushing two runs across in the bottom half of the first off the Padres ace on the hill, James Shields.

He faired pretty well going six innings and allowing just three runs in the friendly hitting ballpark.

Shields, however was not around for the decision. Padres were nursing a 4-3 lead going into the 8th inning, but Joaquin Benoit gave up a solo homerun to Corey Dickerson, his second solo homerun of the game. He went 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs.

Shawn Kelley got the loss for the Friars; he’s now 0-2 in the 2015 campaign.

San Diego is now 10-6 on the season. They will close out the series on Thursday against Colorado at 12:10 p.m. before heading home to host the Dodgers for a three-game series starting on Friday night at 7:10 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Pull Off Another Win Against Rockies]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 22:16:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/470580712.jpg

Derek Norris hit a two-run double to cap off a four-run eighth inning as the Padres rallied for a 7-6 win Tuesday over the host Colorado Rockies.

Leadoff hitter Wil Myers contributed three of the Friars’ 13 hits, including an RBI single in the eighth, and Clint Barmes hit his first home run of the season as they overcame a three-run deficit.

It’s the sixth time the Padres (10-5) have come from behind to win already this season.

Brandon Maurer picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief in the seventh. He picked up starter Brandon Morrow, who allowed five runs on six hits in six innings. Craig Kimbrel gave up a leadoff homer to former Padre Nick Hundley in the ninth, but nailed down his fifth save.

Hundley also had an RBI triple for the Rockies (7-7).

The two teams play again Wednesday at 5:40 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Pound Rockies 14-3]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 21:19:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/470491188.jpg

San Diego's swinging Friars left Chicago in the rearview mirror and went to Colorado to rock the Rockies 14-3 on Monday night after posting a five spot in the first inning.

They then added four more runs in the top of the second to go up 9-0. Every Padres player in the starting lineup had at least one hit — 17 total.

They won game one of a four game set before hosting the Hollywood Swingers — aka LA Dodgers — on Friday at Petco Park.

The Padres pummeled the pearl with Matt Kemp and Derek Norris, both with three hits each and combining to drive in five runs. Three other players had two hits apiece.

San Diego will play again Tuesday at 5:40 p.m. Padres are now 9-5 this season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Pitcher Andrew Cashner : The Deer Hunter]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 20:53:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/469633994.jpg

The last few months have been emotionally draining for Andrew Cashner. The Padres right-hander has been helping his ailing mother back home in Texas, while still trying to focus on baseball and all the preparation that goes with it.

But, Cash has a unique way to escape the stress, and a partner from the Lone Star state to enjoy it with. NBC 7's Derek Togerson has more.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Win Road Series In Chicago]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 14:13:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/470367476.jpg

In his first two starts of 2015, Padres starter Andrew Cashner allowed 10 runs. However, only five of them were earned. His defense has not been helping out very much.

That trend continued on Sunday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, but after one very bad inning, Cash found a way to avoid any more defensive lapses: Just don’t let anybody on base.

The Cubs got two unearned runs in the first inning on three singles and two errors. After that, Cash buckled down, only allowing two hits over the next five innings, to get his first win of the season in a 5-2 Padres victory. Cashner finished with five strikeouts and realized he has a new toy to play with.

After struggling with his fastball location in his first two starts, Cash used his much-improved changeup more often to great effect. It’s a pitch he’s developed enough to use as a legitimate out pitch.

San Diego’s offense once again staged a comeback, the fifth time they’ve overcome a deficit to win a game this season. Will Middlebrooks almost immediately erased Chicago’s 2-0 lead with a 2-run homer in the top of the second inning. Middlebrooks has already hit three home runs and driven in nine. For the entire 2014 season, Padres 3rd basemen went deep 11 times with 56 RBI.

The Padres took the lead in the 6th inning on Will Venable’s line drive single that scored Matt Kemp, then padded the lead a bit when Yangervis Solarte smashed his first home run of the season off Chicago reliever Jason Motte, a 2-run blast to make it a 5-2 game.

Closer Craig Kimbrel threw two straight games and would have been unavailable for Monday’s series opener against the Rockies at Coors Field, so instead of getting another save Joaquin Benoit threw a scoreless 9th to get his first save of the season.

That decision was made by bench coach Dave Roberts, who took over after manager Bud Black was ejected in the second inning after saying something from the dugout to home plate umpire James Hoye. On the very next pitch from Cubs starter Jon Lester, Middlebrooks hit his home run.

The Padres took two out of three from the Cubs at Wrigley, giving the Friars their first road series win of the season. San Diego has won three straight series overall.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Padres Are On A Post-Season Pace]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 17:23:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/470229494.jpg

With 7.4-percent of the 2015 Major League Baseball season complete, I am confident in saying the Padres will make the playoffs. That’s not just my opinion. I mean, it is my opinion, but this is separate from that. No, no, THIS bold statement actually has math as backup (yes, I know this is a ridiculous thing to be writing 12 games in to a season, but I’m so excited about the prospects for this year I couldn’t help myself, so thank you for humoring me).

Since 1995, when MLB expanded its playoffs format to include eight teams, only 10 teams have won 90 games and not earned a post-season spot (the last, of course, being the 2010 San Diego Padres). Now, 90 wins is a lot, and it doesn’t happen very often.

At 7-5, the Padres are only two games over .500, which seems like an awful long way 18 games over .500 they need to be to hit that magical 90-win plateau. But, when you break it down incrementally, San Diego is actually ahead of schedule when it comes to reaching 90 wins.

Over the course of a 162-game season it’s tough to see the big picture. There’s a lot going on here. Plus, the math gets a little goosey when dividing in to 162, so let’s simplify it by using 160 games and holding the final two games out for a bit.

In our 160 game scenario, a team would have to go 44-36 in each half of the season … 22-18 in each quarter … or 11-9 in each eighth, which can be achieved by alternating 10-game sprints with a record of 6-4, then 5-5.

Think about that. If a team goes 5-5 on a 10-game road trip, that’s pretty good. If that team comes home and goes 6-4 on a 10-game home stand, it might not seem all that great, but it’s perfect for playoff positioning.

Now, take all that and add it up, at the end a team is 88-72 with two games to play. How your team fares in those two games will determine whether or not you get to buy playoff tickets.

So at 7-5 all the Padres have to do is go 4-4 over their next eight games and they’ll be right on target to make the post-season.

The problem for the Padres all these years has been really bad starts that create too big a mathematical hole to crawl out of. So far, it seems they’re managing to avoid blowing up the equation and putting themselves out of it before Memorial Day.

<![CDATA[Padres Come Back, Then Lose in Chicago]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 15:30:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Padres-Recap-0418.jpg

There were a few firsts at Wrigley Field on Saturday. Matt Kemp hit his first home run as a Padre. Kris Bryant got his first hit and RBI as a big league ballplayer.

The Padres then overcame a 4-run, 9th-inning deficit for the first time in years to force bonus baseball, only to watch their All-Star closer take his first loss as a Padre. Chicago won 7-6 in 11 innings.

Kemp's dinger came in the first inning, a 2-run shot off Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks. After that, the San Diego bats were silenced. Until the 9th inning, that is.

Ross whiffed nine in 5.2 innings. He allowed Bryant's first hit, an RBI single in the 5th inning to score Dexter Fowler and tie the game at 2-2. In the 6th Ross gave up a solo home run to catcher Miguel Montero, who hit two homers in the game, the second coming an inning later off reliever Chris Rearick, who allowed the first run of his MLB career.

Down 6-2 in the 9th, the Padres bats erupted. Yonder Alonso singled, Matt Kemp singled, Justin Upton singled to score Alonso, Will Middlebrooks doubled to score Kemp, Jedd Gyorko hit in to a fielder's choice to score Upton, Alexi Amarista struck out, Yangervis Solarte ripped a pinch-hit single to score Middlebrooks and the game was all tied at 6. It was the second time this year the Padres have scored four runs in the 9th. They never got more than three runs in the 9th inning of any game in 2014.

That gave the Friars a chance to get their first extra-innings win of the season. Instead, Craig Kimbrel allowed a bases-loaded single to Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro and the Cubs walked off winners.

The Padres can get their first win in a road series on Sunday behind Andrew Cashner, who is looking for his first win of the year, against Cubs lefty Jon Lester, who would like to get his first win in a Cubs uniform.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>