PHOENIX -- A prodigious fourth-inning blast to open the scoring. An untimely eighth-inning misplay that both squandered right-hander Tyson Ross's bid for the first no-hitter in Padres history and a lead. And then a sacrifice bunt in the ninth that contributed to the winning rally in a 4-1 victory over the NL West-leading D-backs at Chase Field on Friday night.
It was quite a night for Padres outfielder Franchy Cordero, as is often the case with talented young players with only 39 games in the big leagues.
The play that will be played and replayed from this game is the one that might have cost Ross a no-hitter. There were two outs in the eighth, with the Padres up 1-0 with a man on second base. Ross was over his career high for pitches thrown in a start, so whether he would or could have finished a no-hitter will forever remain an unanswered question.
D-backs pinch-hitter Christian Walker made it a moot point, lining a ball to center field straight at Cordero.
"It was a ball that was hit hard and it was going right over my head," Cordero said.
He hesitated, taking a step in at first, then turned and started running back towards the wall. The ball landed just out of his reach, an RBI double that ended the no-hitter and tied the game.
It wasn't exactly lightly hit at 102 mph off the bat, but it also shouldn't have been a terribly difficult play for Cordero to make. That's reflected in the 99 percent Statcast™ Catch Probability, which is to say that similar opportunities -- based on time, distance, and direction -- since 2015 have been made almost every single time. That's easily seen when you compare Cordero's opportunity to a nearly identical Carlos Gomez catch from 2016.
It's not just the visuals, either; the numbers here are all but exactly the same. Cordero started 332 feet from home plate, and needed to run 50 feet in 4.7 seconds, straight back. Gomez started 331 feet from home, and needed to run 50 feet in 4.8 seconds. They were, essentially, the same play. One looked routine. One ended a no-hitter.
"It wasn't the cleanest break," Padres manager Andy Green said. "I know he's the type of kid that'll go home thinking about that, how he should've made that catch. Franchy gives everything he has out there. He's plenty fast enough to make some amazing plays, and he's done that. That one was just a tough read off the bat."
That he rebounded from that play to lay down a beautiful sacrifice bunt that helped Eric Hosmer advance to third, and eventually score during the ninth-inning rally spoke volumes about Cordero's resilience.
"The bunt was nice, too," Green said. "Getting that down, making them make a play. We wouldn't have even been in that situation if Franchy hadn't swung the bat like he did earlier in the game."
And swing the bat he did. He absolutely crushed a solo home run in the fourth, a 489-foot blast that gave the Padres the 1-0 lead that they were trying to protect pretty much the entire game.
The ball, which hit off Chase Field's center-field scoreboard, was the longest by any Padres player in the Statcast™ era. It had an exit velocity of 116.3 mph, making it the hardest hit ball by a Padre and it was the longest home run at Chase Field recorded by Statcast™.
"I don't know how they said that wasn't 500 feet," Green said. "Pretty sure it was."
After the game, Cordero was asked if he'd ever hit a ball like that. Before he could answer, someone else did.
"Nope, I can tell you that right away," said Hosmer, who was at the locker right next to Cordero's. "I haven't seen a ball like that."
Cordero, who acknowledged he missed a few pitches last series against the Dodgers, made up for those with one swing.
"Honestly, I'm just happy to be able to go out and execute a swing like that," Cordero said through an interpreter. "I've never done anything like that, but yeah, I'm glad the work's showing up."
He now has three home runs -- equaling his 2017 total -- in 34 at-bats this season.
"It's an electric bat," Green said. "Put the ball in play and it doesn't stay in play often, actually. There's a ton of power there. He's always hitting balls hard."