The Padres' new look offense has been missing in action since leaving Los Angeles on Wednesday, but the pitching has stepped up in a big way. Odrisamer Despaigne had a big day in yesterday's home opener, and Brandon Morrow looked just as good today. Morrow's line in his Padres debut? 7 innings pitched, 0 runs, 4 hits, 3 walks, and 7 strikeouts. He was backed up by Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel, who both threw perfect innings.
Though the first seven and a half innings of the game went scoreless, they weren't without entertainment. The Friars' first hit of the game came in the first inning, when Cory Spangenberg hit a little dribbler down the third base line. The ball rolled pretty far foul, but it had more spin on it than a teacup at Disneyland, and it ended up back in fair territory. Spangy wasn't done showing off, though. Matt Kemp followed up by grounding out to third, which normally wouldn't be all that impressive. Spangenberg, however, had turned on the afterburners and was already at second by the time Casey McGehee threw to first and had no problem reaching third safely. Justin Upton struck out to end the inning, but it was still fun to watch.
That was the only real threat either team managed to make until the top of the seventh, when Morrow issued to walks to start the inning. Darren Balsley came out to give his starter a pep talk. Here's an imagined transcript of their conversation:
Mound visit.... Balls: "PItch better.'' Morrow: "OK."— Bernie Wilson (@berniewilson) April 11, 2015
Morrow listened. He followed up by striking out Brandon Crawford, and then got McGehee to ground into a quick 3-6-1 double play.
When the bottom of the eighth rolled around, Bud Black didn't want to burden his bullpen with another night of extra innings, so he cleared out the bench. Will Middlebrooks (unsuccessfully) pinch hit for Alexi Amarista. Clint Barmes took the pitcher's spot and drew a walk. That brought Wil Myers back up. Myers had already picked up a single in the sixth inning, and followed it up with a line drive double that went all the way to the right field warning track. It was more than enough to score Barmes (who had to make his way past Hector Sanchez's inadvertent clothesline).
Craig Kimbrel came in for his first save attempt as a Padre, and it was just as exciting as we'd all dared to hope. Nori Aoki grounded out to third immediately. Joe Panik dropped a single into right field to bring noted gum-thrower Angel Pagan to the plate. Kimbrel didn't bother with the brushback tonight. He just got Pagan to ground into the Giants fourth double play of the night to end the game.
James Shields will take the mound tomorrow when the Padres try to claw their way to .500. First pitch is at 5:40 PM.
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