Today was the most anticipated Padres home opener since the team made its major league debut in 1969. All of San Diego turned out at Petco Park today, hoping to see Matt Kemp and Justin Upton knock out a couple dingers. It seems almost fitting that instead of a slugfest, they were treated to a 12-inning pitchers' duel. There's no denying it ended in terrible fashion, but it was an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride til the very end.
Ian Kennedy was looking good to start the game, allowing just a pair of singles and a walk while striking out two in two and a third innings. That's right, Kennedy just tossed 2.1 innings. After getting Tim Hudson to fly out to start the third, he tossed a few pitches to Nori Aoki before calling Bud Black to the mound. He left the game with a strained left hamstring, and Odrisamer Despaigne stepped up to take over in a crisis. Despaigne didn't give up a single hit in 4.2 innings of work, and we may see him get a real start five days from now.
Bud Black said Kennedy hamstring strain could lead to DL stint. If it does, Despaigne slides into his spot in rotation. #Padres— Corey Brock (@FollowThePadres) April 10, 2015
The Giants starter, Tim Hudson, wasn't nearly as effective, allowing 5 hits and 5 walks in 6.1 innings of work. And if you've been worried about the Padres striking out too much, take solace in the fact that Hudson only picked up a single K. The Padres' real enemy tonight? The double play. Justin Upton led off the second inning with a shot to the warning track in left center for a double, and a wild pitch and a walk put runners on first and third with one out. Instead of an easy sacrifice fly, Jedd Gyorko grounded into an inning ending double play.
There was another great opportunity in the fifth inning. Will Middlebrooks and Yonder Alonso started off with a pair of singles... then Jedd hit into his second double play of the night. Jedd wasn't the only double play nightmare tonight, with Despaigne and Yangervis Solarte hitting into DPs of their own. Solarte's, like Gyorko's first, came with runners on the corners and one out.
Anyway, with both teams flailing, the ninth inning came around, and nobody had scored. Black called in Craig Kimbrel to make his Petco Park debut despite it not being a save situation. That's when things got really interesting. Angel Pagan stepped up to the plate and almost immediately decided to start screwing around with Derek Norris.
(Grant Brisbee is in Vine jail, because how dare you post 6 seconds of an MLB broadcast, so the video of Pagan tossing his gum at Norris has now been removed.)
Anyway, there was some jawing and Kimbrel threw a perfect brushback pitch to Pagan, and then home plate umpire Tripp Gibson III warned both benches. Pagan hit a triple, but Kimbrel got his revenge by getting out of the inning with a pop fly and a double play. He gave Pagan the most beautiful death stare on his way back to the dugout. What I'm saying is Craig Kimbrel is wonderful.
It wasn't until the twelfth inning that things went terribly wrong. With one out, Brandon Crawford skied one to shallow left field, and a miscommunication between Clint Barmes and Justin Upton led to a collision that put Crawford on second base. Justin Maxwell hit a two-out single off Nick Vincent to score Crawford. The only run of the game, and it was unearned.
The Padres went down in order in the bottom of the twelfth, but they didn't do it without drama. Will Venable struck out on a checked swing, and he was pretty upset that Gibson made the call without asking for the third base umpire's input. Gibson had spent the entire night being notoriously inconsistent, so Venable had good reason to be upset. Well, Gibson tossed him without a second thought. And then Bud Black gave Gibson a piece of his mind. We're a family friendly site, so I won't link to the scene from Bull Durham I'm thinking of, but you know the one. Black got tossed too. Dave Roberts didn't have to steer the ship long as Wil Myers grounded out to end the game.
Don't jump off the bandwagon just yet. Tomorrow is the Tony Gwynn opener, and Brandon Morrow will take the mound at 7:10 PM.
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