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2020 World Series Game 4 recap: Padres mash their way to victory, take 3-1 lead

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A couple of unlikely sources contributed in a big way

MLB: Washington Nationals at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

For the fourth time in four World Series games, the Padres’ offense struck first. This time they kept piling on and, with the help of three strong pitching appearances, rolled to a comfortable 11-2 win. Everyone in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit, with four Friars notching three or more.

The only time the Mariners threatened was in the bottom of the third inning, with the Padres holding the 2-0 lead they took in the first thanks to a leadoff home run from Manuel Margot and a sacrifice fly by Adam Jones. Padres starter Anderson Espinosa retired the first two batters, then surrendered a double, walk, and single in that order to bring in a run and put the tying and go-ahead runs on base. San Diego skipper Andy Green exercised a short leash for the first time in the series, bringing in his usual third starter, Dinelson Lamet, to end the inning without further incident. Lamet, who was activated for the postseason after missing the final month of the regular season as his broken right big toe healed, stayed in for the next four innings, allowing just a single and leaving with an 11-1 lead.

After the game, Green explained his decision to give Espinosa the early hook. “The plan was to let Espy go through their nine twice, then let Nelly [Lamet] take it from there to hopefully get it to [closer Phil Maton] if we got ahead. The way we’ve been having — well, had been having — trouble bringing runs across, that situation looked like it could mean the game for us. Espy wasn’t hitting his spots and was getting into a lot of hitters’ counts, and it seemed like a good time give it over to Nelly since, really, every inning this series up until that point felt like the ninth, like it could be decisive, the way we just weren’t bringing guys home.”

For the second day in a row, Green strayed from his usual lineup, with this one being a more radical departure. The ice-cold Josh Naylor and Wil Myers were given the day off, and their replacements made Green look like a genius. Backup catcher Mitch Garver got a rare start at first base and went 4-6 with eight total bases. His leadoff double in the fourth inning led to the first of five runs scored that frame, and his eighth-inning home run was just icing on the cake. Even more surprising was Green’s choice of designated hitter, and even more surprising than that was how he fared. Batting in the ninth spot as a visitor in his old home park, Ichiro singled three times in four at-bats, walked once, and scored a run.

Asked about the success of Garver and Ichiro, Green quickly deferred credit. “That’s on them. They earned it,” he said, adding, “These are guys who come ready to play. They come in every day and put in the work just like if they were in the lineup, and that pays off when they are.” He went on to credit his bench coach for the decision to start Garver. “Hector [Sanchez] lobbied pretty hard for him. He works a lot with him and Hedgy, so anything he tells me about those guys, I’m going to listen to. Fortunately that worked out for us today.”

Lineup regulars Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Austin Hedges also had three-hit nights, both also homering and driving in three runs. Hedges hit a two-run shot to put the Padres up 4-1 in the fourth, then Tatis hit a three-run blast four batters later. They extended the lead to 8-1 in the fifth on a bases-loaded walk to Luis Urias, then to 9-1 in the sixth by way of a sacrifice fly from Hedges. By the time Garver led off the top of the eighth with a homer and Urias singled in Hedges for the eleventh and final run, the lone run Seattle scratched across in the bottom of the inning was fully inconsequential.

8. Manuel Margot - 2-5, HR, RBI, 2 R, BB
4. Luis Urias - 2-5, 2 RBI, R, BB
6. Fernando Tatis, Jr. - 3-6, HR, 3 RBI, R
9/7. Adam Jones - 1-5, 2B, RBI, SF
5. Miguel Sano - 1-6, R
3. Mitch Garver - 4-6, 2B, HR, RBI, R
7. Franchy Cordero - 1-3, R, BB
PH/9. Wil Myers - 0-1
2. Austin Hedges - 3-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, SF
D. Ichiro - 3-4, R

Anderson Espinosa - 2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, ER, K
Dinelson Lamet (W) - 4.1 IP, H, 6 K
Kyle Barraclough - 2.0 IP, 2 H, BB, 2 K

Green was quick to downplay the increasing likelihood of San Diego winning the series. “We just won three games in a row, and those guys over in that clubhouse are just as capable of putting together three wins. You can’t get comfortable in this game. We — this club — we didn’t get to this point by being comfortable. You don’t have to look too far back to see that a 3-1 lead isn’t something you can be comfortable with. I don’t know if any of you cover the NBA, but if you can, ask LeBron or Steph if a 3-1 lead is comfortable. It’s not. I’m not taking [a potential series victory] for granted, and I can guarantee you that not one of these 25 guys is taking it for granted.”