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Padres top Cubs, 6-2, Austin Hedges has another night

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Dinelson Lamet shines, bullpen is nails, and Austin Hedges is one handsome young man.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight’s matchup of talented young arms had a little of everything. Our starting pitcher had us on the edge of our seat at times, but he came out smelling like roses. The bullpen held it down like it was 2014. The offense had some gritty at-bats and some flashes of power, and the defense did their job on the way to a 6-2 win.

Dinelson Lamet’s second career start wasn’t as clean as his first. He struggled with his command a bit and left a few balls in no-man’s land that got hit hard. The Cubs got on the board first, when a hard-hit ball took a bad bounce and ate third baseman Cory Spangenberg up for a “double” (that really should have been called an error), which plated Jason Heyward. The other big mistake of Lamet’s outing was a slider that didn’t slide and hung up right in Kyle Schwarber’s wheelhouse, which he promptly sent to the cheap seats in rightfield. When it was all said and done, Dinelson Lamet left the game after five full innings, on the hook for two earned runs on five hits and a walk, racking up eight strikeouts along the way. He is the first pitcher to collect eight or more strikeouts in his first two starts since Masahiro Tanaka in 2014. Not too shabby. While he was sloppy at times, he still got the job done. If that’s what he looks like on an “off” night, he should have a bright future as a starter in the middle of this rotation for years to come.

Lamet’s counterpart for the Cubs, Eddie Butler, didn’t have such a good time tonight. Austin Hedges got the party started with a solo shot just over the left-center wall, scoring Franchy Cordero. With a launch angle of 18 degrees, it was the third-lowest missle by a Padres hitter in the Statcast era.

The fun continued in the fifth, as singles by Yangervis Solarte and Wil Myers were rewarded by a double into the corner by Hunter Renfroe, scoring both runners. Franchy Cordero walked, and Austin Hedges paid the good deed forward with a double into the corner of his own, scoring Renfroe and Cordero. Eddie Butler was responsible for all six earned runs and was chased after 4-1/3 innings. At the end of the fifth, the Padres led 6-2, with Lamet the pitcher of record in line for his second career win.

Jose Torres got two clean outs in the sixth, and Kevin Quackenbush followed him with 1-1/3 innings of hitless ball. Kirby Yates gave up a broken bat bloop single to Addison Russell, ending the bullpen’s 14-2/3 inning hitless streak. It’s okay, because he made up for it by striking out three Cubs and stranding Russell, then finishing the game for a total line of two innings, four strikeouts, and the lone hit. When it was all said and done, the good guys came out on top, 6-2.

Dinelson Lamet had a nice start. Kirby Yates and the rest of the bullpen were nails down the stretch. Franchy Cordero was good at the plate and in the field tonight. A ball girl made a great play down the leftfield line. But the player of the game has to be Austin Hedges. 2-for-four with a double and a homer, four ribbys, and he’s handling a rookie pitcher like a veteran. It feels like we’ve waited so long for him to come up, but it seems like it was well worth the wait.

Tonight’s win seals the series win, and tomorrow they’ll go for the sweep against the defending World Champs. It’ll be a 12:40 start, so set your alarms and tell the boss that you’re catching Friar Fever!