SAN DIEGO -- Luis Perdomo dodged danger, ever so slightly flirted with history and got just enough run support as the Padres downed Detroit, 1-0, on Friday night in the series opener at Petco Park.
The San Diego right-hander walked five over his first four innings, throwing more balls than strikes in the process. But he held the Tigers hitless until Andrew Romine's leadoff single in the fifth, a grounder that rolled through the right side with a 37-percent chance of being a hit, according to Statcast™. Despite Perdomo's erraticism, catcher Austin Hedges was impressed with his batterymate's arsenal.
"Just let him be nasty," Hedges said. "The command wasn't necessarily there, but his stuff was as good as I've seen it."
• Hedges stars in first game back
Hedges said he put his gloves on the corners less often than he normally would, trying to get Perdomo in the strike zone. Perdomo allowed another leadoff single by Alex Avila in the sixth, but he retired Jose Cabrera, J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton to finish his sixth shutout inning as his adjustments proved critical.
"Luckily, I was able to make it early enough in the game that it was able to keep me in the game and make some pitches from there," Perdomo said through a team interpreter.
The Padres got on the board in the second, when Hedges stroked an RBI double to left in his first at-bat since exiting Monday's game against Chicago after a collision with Anthony Rizzo. Cory Spangenberg scored after drawing a leadoff walk against right-hander Michael Fulmer, who suffered a hard-luck loss after striking out eight Padres over seven innings. Hedges' double was one of only two hits San Diego managed off Fulmer.
"I threw a slider and I meant to bounce it, and I just left it up,'' Fulmer said. "I wasn't trying to throw it for a strike. You got to have a better pitch than that. Unfortunately, one of the few bad [sliders] cost me.''
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Double plays doom Detroit: The Tigers threatened throughout the early innings as Perdomo struggled to command any of his pitches. A pair of one-out walks in the first gave Martinez an RBI opportunity, but Perdomo, with a knack for producing ground balls, managed to get one for Spangenberg at third, leading to an inning-ending double play. Upton drew a walk to begin the second, but after Perdomo struck out Dixon Machado, Romine grounded to William Myers, who started a 3-6-3 double play and kept the game scoreless.
"[Perdomo] was quick early on, and everything was kind of flying out," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He was yanking some balls and missing kind of wildly the first couple innings. He's got so much movement that he gets away with it, and they put some balls in play that turned into double plays and were key."
Raise the Aybar: The Padres' 1-0 lead was quickly threatened in the top of the eighth, when pinch-hitter John Hicks stroked the 11th pitch he received from left-hander Brad Hand into left field for a double. After Michael Mahtook entered as a pinch-runner, Hand struck out Ian Kinsler on a check-swing call, causing Tigers manager Brad Ausmus' second ejection of the season.
"I wasn't real happy with the call of a check swing,'' Ausmus said. "I didn't think he went, and I still don't think he went after watching the replay."
Hand followed with a strikeout of Nicholas Castellanos. Cabrera then struck a grounder to shortstop Erick Aybar's left. Aybar twirled, the ball slipping from his glove in the process, but he barehanded it in the air and threw to first in time to catch Cabrera by several steps.
"Erick's defense the last couple of games at short has been extraordinary," Green said. "He's made some big plays for us. I don't think we win the game today if he's not coming up with some big plays late."
"Since I started playing, since I was 11 years old, since they taught me everything, they always taught me to run hard, and so since that moment, I've always run hard and run through first base pretty good." -- Perdomo on running out ground balls despite being a pitcher
"We're in last place. It's pretty hard for us to get wins anywhere: East Coast, West Coast, central.'' -- Kinsler on the Tigers losing for the fifth straight time on their eight-game West Coast road trip
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
It's easy to find the Tigers' hard-luck pitcher -- it's Fulmer. Detroit has been shut out six times this season, and in three of them, Fulmer was the starting pitcher. He's now 3-4 in road games despite posting a 2.16 ERA away from Comerica Park. More >>
Upton's chopper to Aybar with one out in the ninth led to a late Padres challenge. Initially called safe at first, Upton was ruled out after a review that lasted one minute and 19 seconds.
Tigers: RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-0, 7.96) gets the nod for the middle contest of the three-game series in his second start this season. Sanchez, when with the Marlins, had four career starts against the Padres, going 0-2 with a 3.09. First pitch is 10:10 p.m. ET.
Padres: Right-hander Dinelson Lamet (2-2, 7.50) will take the mound at 7:10 p.m. PT coming off the best start of his young career. He came one strikeout short of the Padres' rookie record, punching out 12 Brewers over six innings. His 26.7 swinging strike percentage was the second-best mark for any starter in a single game this season.
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