Two Padres swing things club's way in vital 7th

After Reyes works out of jam with two K's, Renfroe hits go-ahead blast

May 9th, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- Gerardo Reyes supplied the power on the mound. supplied it at the plate. And in the span of a few moments in the seventh inning, the Padres swung a game that seemed to be unraveling.

San Diego won Wednesday's series finale against the Mets, 3-2, at Petco Park on the strength of yet another go-ahead home run from Renfroe. But it was the newly recalled Reyes who made that moment possible with one of the most dominant relief outings of the season.

The win moved San Diego to 21-17, the franchise’s best start in nine years. Here’s a breakdown of the two men who changed the game in that fateful seventh inning -- and what they mean to the Padres this season.

Gerardo Reyes
The situation: Tie game, second and third, one out
The result: Two strikeouts on six pitches
Win probability before: 34.6 percent
Win probability after: 58.3 percent

Reyes, an electric right-hander with a high-90s fastball, received his promotion on Wednesday morning when the Padres optioned Cal Quantrill to Triple-A El Paso. San Diego's bullpen desperately needed a reprieve, with injuries to three key contributors and an overworked group of regulars.

did his part, working 6 1/3 solid innings. But he exited in the seventh when Brandon Nimmo doubled off 's glove. Margot -- who had robbed Pete Alonso of a potential home run one inning earlier -- couldn’t corral Nimmo’s deep drive. Strangely, Michael Conforto only advanced one base, from second to third.

In a 2-2 game, the Padres asked Reyes to make the Mets pay for their wastefulness.

“He earned us that win today, the way he came in and pitched,” said Padres manager Andy Green.

Reyes didn’t mess around. He came after Tomas Nido with fastballs clocked at 97, 98 and 99 mph. Nido swung through all three. After a first-pitch slider to Todd Frazier, Reyes pumped two more 99-mph heaters. Frazier swing through all three pitches as well.

“It was unbelievable,” Strahm said. “He's throwing 99 from the hip. To show what we have in our farm system that he gets here today and does that -- it speaks a lot on what's coming.”

The Padres sure could use this version of Reyes. They’re looking for a bridge to and at the back end of their bullpen, especially with battling shoulder tightness.

Strahm helped serve in that capacity last year. His contributions in the rotation have proven valuable, but there’s still a void in the middle innings. In that regard, the 25-year-old Reyes has a chance to be a game-changer.

“We need that right now,” Green said. “As long as he’s around there, filling up the zone, his stuff really plays.”

So dominant was Reyes that Green scrapped his plans to call on in the eighth, and he let Reyes bat for himself. After striking out on three pitches in his first Major League at-bat, Reyes retired the top of the Mets’ lineup in order.

“I was feeling great,” Reyes said. “We'll see. I'll just [try to] keep doing the same thing.”

Hunter Renfroe
The situation: Tie game, bases empty, no outs
The result: Home run
Win probability before: 58.3 percent
Win probability after: 80.9 percent

Of course Renfroe’s homer gave the Padres a lead on Wednesday afternoon. Those are the only home runs he hits anymore.

Renfroe’s last five home runs have all given the Padres a lead in a big situation. This week alone, he has a walk-off grand slam against the Dodgers and two go-ahead blasts against the Mets.

“He’s clutch,” Green said. “And he has been for a long time.”

“He’s one of the clutchest guys I’ve ever met,” right-hander said Monday, after Renfroe’s dinger against Jacob deGrom broke a scoreless tie.

Renfroe and Green have discussed what makes the Padres slugger so successful in those moments. Renfroe says he locks in, shortens his swing and has a tendency to chase less. Green wants Renfroe to apply that approach in every situation.

"I love it about him, and I hate it about him, if I'm being honest," Green said. "I love that he's got another gear that he can find. And I hate that he doesn't live at that gear all the time.”

Green had no qualms with Renfroe’s contributions on Wednesday. Tyler Bashlor left a 1-0 fastball over the heart of the plate, and Renfroe sent it a projected 414 feet into the second deck, according to Statcast.

In the span of three batters, Reyes and Renfroe had made a powerful statement. They won a baseball game in the process.