The Padres beat up on the Phillies, but last night’s 2-1 loss reminded us why the Nationals are in the hunt for an NL East title while the Phillies are in the hunt for a top overall draft pick. With the team back to playing quality teams, the losses are coming a little easier. Wins and losses didn’t matter so much tonight, as it was the first Austin Hedges “Saxy Section” night, so fans in the Estrella Jalisco Landing were treated to snazzy sunglasses and inflatable saxophones. For once, the Padres held a fun and effective promotion, as the section was packed and the fans saxed it up! It was also SDSU night, so a special event ticket entitled the holder to a special red and black cap, one of the better-looking special event caps of the season.
Tonight’s projected starter Max Scherzer was scratched due to neck spasms. This opened an opportunity for swingman Matt Grace, who did his best Scherzer impression against the Padres lineup by giving up two walks and only one hit in 4-2/3 innings pitched. He got some early support in the way of a Howie Kendrick solo homer in the first and a second run thanks to a wild throw from shortstop Dusty Coleman. When Grace left the game for former Padre Shawn Kelley, he had a 2-0 lead. Dusty Coleman tried to get a little retribution for the error by planting one in the second deck:
Luis Perdomo did a pretty good job of minimizing the damage his first two times through the Nationals lineup, only allowing a single run in each of the first two innings. The third turn through the lineup wasn’t so kind, as he got tagged for three more runs (only one earned thanks to a rare Manuel Margot error), for five total runs in his six innings of work. Buddy Baumann relieved him and got out of a jam in the top of the seventh, but the damage was done and the Nationals led 5-1.
The rest of the game was a snoozer. The Nationals bullpen mowed through the Padres hitters holding them scoreless, and Carter Capps came in to pitch the ninth for the Padres and gave up two more runs. Maybe it’s a good thing that he’s getting all this ugly out of his system before the wins are actually wanted.
The teams face off again tomorrow night, but alas there will be no “Saxy Section” tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 5:40, and the projected starters have not been announced.