Even when the team is losing a lot of games, debuts are fun. Most of us grow up wish we could debut in the big leagues and its a thrill to think about whether you are from San Diego, Mexico, Japan, the Dominican Republic or Cuba. Today Odrisamer Despaigne, a Cuban the Padres signed for $1 million last month, made his debut for the Friars. Most fans had not even seen a picture of the 27 year old from Havana let alone see him pitch. So those who watched tuned it to analyze every aspect of this new hurler.
Despaigne was replacing Andrew Cashner and if you only caught the game via a recap of the Giants' at bats you would be excused if you thought the Padres' Opening Day starter was throwing. But instead it was the new guy keeping the San Francisco at bats off balance throughout his entire outing. Going into the 4th inning it looked like Matt Cain was matching him along the way, but that would change.
In the top of the fourth the Padres batters were just getting their second look at the veteran starter when Everth Cabrera started the rally with an infield single. Seth Smith would follow that with a base knock of his own. Venable had already made an out to lead off the inning so a diving grab on a Carlos Quentin liner next would be the second out. With all the injuries and ineffective hitting plaguing the Padres' sticks it was Yasmani Grandal who was batting 5th in the lineup and this inning. With a 2-2 count Yas hit a ball deep, really deep to right center. In that part of the park there is a massive brick wall. At the crack of the bat Smith and Cabrera were off. The ball went to the top of the wall and it disappeared. It must have cleared it and the umpires signaled a home run. 3-0 Padres.
However, in this modern day and age replay gets the final say on home runs. A glance at the video showed that a Giants fan caught the ball just below the top of the wall. That is fan interference and a ground rule double for Grandal despite that part of the park often yielding a triple and once in a while an inside-the-park home run. The painfulness of this ruling was that Smith, who had plenty of time to circle the bases before the fan intervened was likely to score and yet was forced to return to 3rd base. Manager Buddy Black took up that cause for his troops and angrily shouted his case to the umpires. Before he was in spitting distance he was rung and Dave Roberts would be forced to take over. Black got his money's worth and let the umpire know all he thought about the call.
Ball never lies!!! #bigknock— Jedd Gyorko (@JGyorko05) June 24, 2014
Tommy Medica came up next and delivered the blow that let the friar faithful breath a collective sigh of relief. Sandoval had barely gotten to Quentin's liner and maybe an inopportune gust of air held back Grandal's blast, but this time Medica's duck snort cleared the pudgy third baseman to score Smith and Grandal and restore the 3-0 advantage.
Despaigne on the other hand would hold the Giants scoreless for his entire 7 innings. In the 8th they finally pulled him for a pinch hitter, another rookie Jake Goebbert. To that point the only inning the Padres got a hit was that 4th inning.
Gogurt Goebbert would get another rally going with a one out knock. Venable would follow that with a ground ball single that just barely got by Brandon Crawford. Cabrera would squeak one by another infielder with an RBI single off the glove of second baseman Joe Panik. A throwing error would allow Venable to follow Goebbert home. Then Seth Smith's solid 2B would make it another 3 run tally in the second such rally. Two innings with hits. A trifecta of runs in each. 6-0 Padres. That score would hold to the end.
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