The Padres had a chance to lessen the gap in the standings between themselves and the Dodgers tonight.
They did not.
It was an affair of the low-scoring variety. The division-leading Dodgers came into this game fresh off a sweep by the Giants and riding a 31-inning scoreless streak. The Padres offense continued to struggle, and facing Zack Greinke didn't help.
Greinke's night lasted 7 2/3 innings long. He allowed one run on six hits and a walk while collecting five strikeouts.
Andrew Cashner, to his credit, had a solid outing and kept the Padres in the game. His only run allowed was unearned. After giving up a leadoff single to Justin Turner in the bottom of the 5th, a fielding error by Will Venable allowed Turner to reach 2nd. He scored on the next at-bat as Andre Ethier doubled to right field, ending the Dodgers' scoring drought. Cashner followed up with three straight outs to get out of the inning with limited damage and leave Ethier stranded on second base.
The Padres' only run of the game came in the seventh inning, and it didn't come smoothly. With one out, Derek "The Underscore" Norris hit a ground-rule double to left field. Princeton alum Will Venable followed with a single, advancing to second as Norris ran home and slid under the tag at the plate. The umps called him safe, but the Dodgers were unconvinced and the play went under review.
As the umpires deliberated, viewers at home saw several replays of the close play, and many angles seemed to show Norris missing the bag. On the FSSD broadcast, Mud and Dick agreed that Norris appeared to have failed to touch the plate as he slid home - or as Padres fans like to call it, "the Matt Holliday special."
But just like Holliday in 2007, Norris was called safe. Many fans justified it by saying part of his leg touched the plate before the tag. You can judge for yourself.
So from there, it was an all new game. That is, until Joaquin Benoit took over on the mound, following up a scoreless inning of work from Brandon Maurer, who's allowed only four hits over his last 10 relief outings. In the bottom of the 8th, Benoit served up a solo home run to Joc Pederson to give the lead back to the Dodgers.
Buddy left him in too long probably.— Jodes Paranal (@jodes0405) May 23, 2015
Kenley Jansen pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning to seal the victory for L.A. and send San Diego three games under .500.
The Padres are in the midst of probably their toughest stretch of baseball all season. They ran into an absolutely red-hot Nationals team starring the phenomenal Bryce Harper, followed by a second-place Cubs team featuring even more young talent on offense. Now they're up against the NL West leaders, and it doesn't stop there.
So how can they pull themselves out of this funk? Well today's outing by Cashner was surely promising. In a year that's been hampered by an overall underperforming pitching staff, another solid start from Cash should inspire hope. Add to that the fact that Matt Kemp WILL eventually bust out of this hitting slump and that soon we're gonna start getting some of those injured players back in the lineup, and yes, there is something to look forward to in the near(ish) future.
Keep the faith, babies.
Tomorrow the Padres face a guy they've only seen once before, Mike Bolsinger, as they send Ian Kennedy to the hill for game 2.
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