'Rest and hits' key Padres' commanding win in Cincy

May 23rd, 2024

CINCINNATI -- What a difference 24 hours -- and a whole bunch of sleep -- can make.

One night after they were shut out for the second time in a row, the Padres, undoubtedly more alert and awake than they had been in a while, piled on the hits and the runs to top the Reds at Great American Ball Park, 7-3 on Wednesday night.

“Rest and hits, we love that,” manager Mike Shildt said.

The style of this win was nothing fancy. Luis Arraez opened the game with his seventh career leadoff homer -- a 374-foot shot off Reds starter Nick Martinez -- but from there, the Padres relied on more modest contributions up and down the lineup, and they received participation from nearly everyone.

The big breakout happened in the fifth inning. Four of the five hits that frame were categorized as “hard hit,” defined by Statcast as clocking in at a minimum of 95 mph. Fernando Tatis Jr.’s single, which scored Luis Campusano from second, registered at 108.9 mph -- the hardest hit ball of the game, by either team.

Jurickson Profar followed with a double, driving in Tatis and extending his hitting streak to 11 games.

“Nick was keeping us off-balance, especially early,” Manny Machado said. “He got out of a couple innings there. That [fifth] inning we were able to put some on the board and get going, hit with runners in scoring position. That was huge for us, put us in a good spot.”

The effort marked a stark turnaround from the prior game. The Padres, coming off an arduous 36 hours that involved a doubleheader in Atlanta and a middle-of-the-night arrival in Cincinnati in the wee hours Tuesday morning, managed five hits in a shutout loss to the Reds in the opener.

Wednesday’s game was more in line with what is expected of a lineup littered with star players. All nine spots in the lineup contributed at least one hit, led by Arraez, who was 4-for-5 with two RBIs from the leadoff spot.

Arraez is slashing .391/.425/.478 in 16 games since he was traded from the Marlins earlier this month. The one category that had eluded him, until Wednesday, was the long ball. His homer in the opening frame was his first of the season.

“I’m excited because I didn’t have any homers this year,” he said. “I don’t try to do too much, I just try to get on base. If I get on base we’ll score a lot of runs, so that’s what I’m doing right now.”

“Arraez -- what a magician with that bat in his hands,” Shildt said. “It's really special. Set the tone, great energy, great approach.”

The offensive power rewarded starter Michael King, who pitched into the seventh inning and held the Reds to three runs, fanning six.

“It definitely makes my job a lot easier,” King said. “[Pitching with a lead] shuts down the running game a little bit. So now I don’t really have to pay attention to all their base stealers that they have. It’s much more fun to pitch with a lead.”

The Padres scaled back their pregame routine, opting for a later arrival to the ballpark and not taking batting practice on the field. That schedule was “intentional,” Shildt said, with the focus on getting back up to speed after a taxing trip to Atlanta.

“We talk about load management,” Shildt said. “That’s a big part of it.”

Whatever the Padres are doing in that space seems to be working. While evening their overall record to 26-26, they’re 16-10 on the road this season. Including their 14-hit outburst Wednesday, they have logged 10 or more hits in four of six games on their current road trip.

“Just a well-played game in all phases,” Shildt said. “All the contributions throughout the lineup, which is fun stuff. Just good baseball.”