June 24, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Edinson Volquez (37) is congratulated by teammates after a 2-0 win against the Seattle Mariners at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
On a day mired by the news of Darrel Akerfelds' passing, our Padres dedicated themselves to winning for their beloved coach, mentor, and friend. And what better way than a shutout for a series win to pay tribute to a man who was such an asset to the Padres organization and community.
Edinson Volquez started it off with 6.2 scoreless innings. He held the Mariners to four hits and three walks while striking out four. Then came the bullpen, Akerfelds' pride and joy. And they surely made him proud by preserving the shutout and sealing the win. Joe Thatcher and Luke Gregerson, who were particularly close to Akerfelds, came in to pitch the 7th and 8th. Thatcher threw just one pitch, but got Ichiro Suzuki to ground out to end the 7th inning. Gregerson allowed a double to Kyle Seager in the 8th, but saved the shutout by getting Justin Smoak to line into a double play. Finally, Huston Street retired the Mariners in order in the 9th to get the save.
Offensively, our Padres didn't do much, but they didn't need much to get the win. Our only two runs came in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, number 8 hitter Alexi Amarista came to the plate. He hit a double to left field to plate two runners and put our Padres on the board, giving our pitchers a lead that would never be relinquished.
It was a much-needed victory for our team. They turned mourning into motivation and ended interleague play with a winning record, a feat that has only been accomplished by San Diego twice before. In light of a devastating situation amidst a season filled with lows, it was good to see our boys go out there and play pure Padres baseball. Akerfelds' spirit will continue to live on in the Padres community and hopefully inspire some more winning baseball for our Friars.