The 2016 Home Run Derby isn’t until July 11th at Petco Park, but Friday nights match up between the Padres and Dodgers sure seemed like one with the two clubs combining for five long balls.
Christian Friedrich made his second start for the Padres and struggled on the mound going just 3.1 innings giving up two earned runs on six hits but only surrendered three walks. His main contribution came in the batters box. Friedrich’s second inning two-run, two-out single gave the Padres the 2-0 lead and the 28-year old his first career RBIs.
Dodgers Scott Kazmir also struggled going 5.2 innings surrendering five earned runs and walking seven. But he got some help from his offense in the fifth.
Yasiel Puig started the home run trend in the top of the fifth sending a two-run shot off Padres reliever Carlos Villanueva to right-center to break a 2-all tie giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead.
Derek Norris led off the bottom of the inning and didn’t waste any time chipping away at the lead. The Padres catcher sent a solo shot to left-center to cut L.A.’s lead in half. It was his fourth homer of the season and just his second hit in the last seven games, both home runs.
Villanueva pitched a 1,2,3 top of the sixth to keep it a 4-3 Dodgers lead before being lifted for a pinch-hitter, Christian Bethancourt. Bethancourt was originally in the starting lineup in right-field just hours away from his first MLB start at a position other than catcher when Padres manager Andy Green switched him out for Jose Pirela. Bethancourt made a case for the starting nine tomorrow. After birthday boy Adam Rosales walked the 24-year old sent a one-out, two-run shot to left field putting the Padres ahead 5-4.
But the home run derby wasn’t over yet. Top of the eighth-inning Justin Turner stepped up to the plate with Carl Crawford on and sent a Brandon Maurer offering over the right field fence putting the Dodgers back on top 6-5.
Coming off a four-game losing streak, things didn’t look good for the Friars in the bottom of the ninth. They were down by one with Wil Myers leading off against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. Myers was hitless in the game and 0-3 against Jansen in his career striking out all three times. But this is baseball.
Myers hit a blooper into shallow center. Next up Melvin Upton Jr. got three straight cutters from Jansen. There’s a saying that in Major League Baseball you never throw a hitter three of the same pitch. Jansen’s third cutter didn’t cut and Upton Jr. sent it to the stands in right field and the Padres to a 7-6 walkoff win.
San Diego improves to 18-25 on the season while the Dodgers fall below .500 at 21-22. Cesar Vargas gets the ball for the Padres tomorrow, opposite Alex Wood.