This whole “the Padres are hitting too many home runs” thing might have some legs.
There is nothing wrong with hitting home runs. It’s fun and provides instant offense. The problem the Friars have is they rely far too much on the big fly and don’t manufacture enough runs. That shortcoming was on full display in a 5-4 loss to the White Sox on Saturday night in Chicago.
Manuel Margot pulled a Matt Szczur and hit the first pitch of the game out of the park for a leadoff home run. San Diego also got a solo home run from another rookie, Rule 5 draftee Allen Cordoba in the 3rd inning.
The Friars did find a way to get a run on the board without leaving the yard in the 5th inning. Hunter Renfroe walked, Margot singled and Szczur walked to load the bases. Wil Myers brought home Renfroe with a sacrifice fly to give the Padres a 3-2 lead and put Vista High School alum Trevor Cahill in line for a win.
But in the bottom of the 5th the White Sox did what the Padres have had trouble doing. Kevan Smith singled and went to third on a Tyler Saladino double. Leury Garcia brought home Smith with a fielder’s choice to tie it 3-3. Melky Cabrera singled with two outs to score Saladino and put Chicago on top 4-3. Cahill allowed four runs (three earned) and struck out seven in 6.0 innings.
The Padres tied it up by doing what they do best: hitting solo home runs. Myers launched a 453-foot bomb to left-centerfield in the 8th inning to tie the game 4-4. That was the last hit they got.
In the bottom of the 9th inning the American League team beat the National League team with small ball. Saladino drew a leadoff walk from Brad Hand and moved to 2nd base on a sacrifice bunt by Garcia. Yolmer Sanchez followed with a single up the middle and Saladino dove in just ahead of Margot’s throw to the plate to make Chicago a walk-off winner.
The Padres can still win the series on Sunday behind Jered Weaver, who leads the Major Leagues in home runs allowed and is likely pitching to keep his big league career alive. He’ll face Jose Quintana.