SAN DIEGO -- The Padres called on Matthew Szczur and Franchy Cordero in a pinch on Friday night. They delivered in a big way.Szczur launched a go-ahead blast to lead off the seventh inning, and Cordero smacked a two-run insurance double in the eighth, sending the Padres to a 6-3
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres called on Matthew Szczur and Franchy Cordero in a pinch on Friday night. They delivered in a big way.
Szczur launched a go-ahead blast to lead off the seventh inning, and Cordero smacked a two-run insurance double in the eighth, sending the Padres to a 6-3 victory over the Royals and snapping their five-game skid.
The pinch-hit heroics made a winner out of Jhoulys Chacin, who was excellent at Petco Park once again. He allowed just three hits over seven innings -- only one of them a true mistake. Royals catcher Salvador Perez crushed a Chacin fastball for a two-run shot in the fifth. Otherwise, the Padres right-hander merely allowed a pair of seeing-eye singles to Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.
"He's been pitching really great lately, especially at home," said Szczur. "He made probably one mistake tonight and Salvador took advantage. He pitched very well tonight, so it was rewarding to pick him up at the end there."
• Chacin has slider working in impressive outing
Kansas City starter Eric Skoglund was roughed up early and exited with one out in the second, forcing four Royals relievers to eat 6 2/3 innings.
"[My pitches] were in the middle, they were able to square some balls up and that was about it,'' Skoglund said. "I wasn't getting ahead and that's the bread and butter right there. If you don't get ahead, you are going to get hit."
• Skoglund frustrated by abbreviated outing
Skoglund faced 11 hitters and allowed nine of them to reach base. But he limited the Padres to only two runs -- thanks to a timely double play, some baserunning blunders and a second-inning escape act by reliever Scott Alexander. The Royals bullpen was sharp through the sixth, until left-hander Matt Strahm grooved a fastball to Szczur, who turned it into his first career pinch-hit homer. The Padres tacked on three in the eighth off Christopher Young.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Catchers who rake: The Padres out-hit Kansas City, 8-0, in the first four innings, and scored two runs. That lead vanished quickly in the fifth after Hosmer opened the frame with a single through the right side. Perez crushed the next pitch into the left-field seats for his 94th career dinger -- the most ever by a Royals backstop. It was also Perez's 12th home run of the season, breaking a tie with San Diego's Austin Hedges for the most by a catcher.
"I didn't even know until someone told me,'' Perez said. "But our team didn't win tonight so that is something you never forget.''
Insurance from Franchy: Cordero has raked against right-handed pitching since his callup two weeks ago. His rocket double against Young gave the Padres a 5-2 lead -- and those insurance runs proved pivotal, as the Royals scored in the ninth after loading the bases. Since his callup two weeks ago, Cordero is batting .379 (11-for-29) with four extra-base hits against right-handed pitching.
"We clearly needed those insurance runs," said Padres manager Andy Green. "Franchy has swung it great, and he'll be out there tomorrow. It was a big hit for us."
SILVER SLUGGER CHACIN?
Chacin plated the Padres' second run after lining a double into the right-field corner. His seven hits this season are second among all pitchers, behind only the Mets' Jacob deGrom. He also tacked on a sacrifice bunt and finished the night with a .333 average. It's early, but he could be a serious contender for the Silver Slugger Award, given to the best hitter at each position.
Said Chacin of his second-inning double: "I saw Hosmer, he was coming in like I was going to bunt. I said, 'I'm not bunting here.' I looked for a fastball, and I got it and got lucky enough."
In his second straight game in San Diego, Perez hit a home run. Perez also homered in his July visit, which came during last summer's All-Star Game.
Lorenzo Cain led off the ninth with a chopper to third base and hustled to beat out Cory Spangenberg's throw across the diamond. The Padres challenged the call, hoping Cain's foot grazed the front of the bag a bit too late. But the call stood.
Royals: Ian Kennedy (0-6) seeks his first victory of the season when he faces his former team in San Diego on Saturday at 3:10 p.m. CT. Kennedy, who is 5-15 in Interleague play, has a 7-2 career mark against the Padres with a 3.05 ERA.
Padres: Rookie Rule 5 Draft pick Miguel Diaz makes his first career start Saturday, in the middle game against the Royals. After a rough start to his big league career, Diaz has posted a 2.79 ERA in the bullpen over the last month. First pitch is slated for 1:10 p.m. PT.
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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.
Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego. He covered the Royals on Friday.