Given the way the Padres have played over the last couple days, no one would have expected you to watch the game today. Even if you had watched it, any rational person would have turned it off before the ninth inning. But what happened at Petco Park this afternoon is the reason we still tune in to watch terrible teams play meaningless baseball in the middle of September. Watching a rookie on a September call-up hitting a goddamn two-out walkoff grand slam like it’s the last scene of a cheesy baseball movie is always going to be magical, no matter how miserable the context surrounding it might be.
The eight innings leading up to the dramatic finale were pretty perfunctory. Hunter Renfroe hit his 23rd homer to put the Padres up 1-0 in the first. Jacob Nix surrendered that lead immediately, as Willie Calhoun took him deep to right field in the second. He got stung with a longball again in the third, as Jurickson Profar went yard to start the frame. The Rangers picked up one more run in the sixth when Nix gave up a double and a single with one out.
The Padres got one of those runs back in the seventh. Franmil Reyes hit a one-out single, and a ground out would see him replaced on first by Freddy Galvis. Manuel Margot brought him home with his sixth triple of the year.
That’s the way things stayed until the bottom of the ninth, which didn’t seem like it would be terribly auspicious as Eric Hosmer started it by grounding out. But then Reyes singled, and Galvis brought pinch runner Travis Jankowski home with a double to left. That tied the game, but extra innings looked certain to any seasoned Padres fan when Margot flied out. But Jeffrey Springs was rattled and walked the next two batters to load the bases. Francisco Mejía got a juicy changeup for the very first pitch, and he destroyed it.
Hopefully the Padres can ride that energy into a better series against the Giants, who roll into town tomorrow. First pitch at 7:10 PM.