The Padres 3-6 start certainly seems rough, and there have been plenty of doubts expressed about this team's true potential. Tonight, we saw the upper limit of that potential, and it was glorious. Andrew Cashner threw the second complete game shutout of his career, and it was another one-hitter. The ace also picked up a career-high 11 strikeouts while only walking two Tigers. And it's not like this was a game against the Astros or the Cubs. Last season, Detroit led the AL in batting average and were second in the league in on base percentage and slugging. Cashner tossed the second best game of his career against one of baseballs offensive powerhouses, and he made it look easy.
But pitching alone doesn't win ballgames, as Padres fans are all too aware. So the offense got things started early, with Everth Cabrera's leadoff single. Then Jedd Gyorko crushed a ball to right field for a triple to score the first run of the night. That was followed by Chase Headley's RBI double. The bats were quiet until the 6th, when Seth Smith hit a double to left. And that's when Headley finally found his swing, launching a two-run blast off of Rick Porcello. And it was no cheap shot. It was the kind of ball you realize is long gone just from the sound it makes off the bat. There was still more piling on to do in the seventh, as Cashner helped his own cause with a single. Cabrera picked up his second single of the night to move him to third. Cabby followed that with a quick steal of second. Chris Denorfia then grounded to shortstop, but everybody was safe as Cashner slid under the tag at home. A ground out scored Cabrera for the sixth and final run of the game. In total, five Friars had multi-hit games, and the only starter to miss out on the hit parade was Will Venable.
There's certainly been a lot of doubt and skepticism in the wake of the first 9 games, and it's not entirely unwarranted. But tonight was a sign of what these Padres are capable of. They won't all be 6-0 complete game shutouts, but when this team performs on all fronts, they look champions.
Ian Kennedy takes on Justin Verlander at 5:40 PM tomorrow. Here's hoping tonight's Padres make an encore appearance.
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Friar Fever was the head cheerleader tonight, assisted by abara and his 3 recs.