SAN DIEGO -- Padres skipper Andy Green has preached it all season: Good things happen when the ball is put in play.Even if it's a 60-foot chopper up the third-base line.That's precisely how the Padres walked off the Marlins in a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night at Petco Park. Pinch-hitter
SAN DIEGO -- Padres skipper Andy Green has preached it all season: Good things happen when the ball is put in play.
Even if it's a 60-foot chopper up the third-base line.
That's precisely how the Padres walked off the Marlins in a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night at Petco Park. Pinch-hitter Hunter Renfroe chopped a single to third, tying the game. When Miguel Rojas bounced his ensuing throw to first base, Freddy Galvis scampered home with the winning run.
"I'm just trying to hit the ball," said Renfroe. "Hit the ball, make sure something happens, run as hard as you can."
Simple enough, right? Except the Padres are striking out at a 26 percent clip this season -- the highest in baseball. Their 11.8 percent swing-and-miss rate is the highest in the National League.
It's been something of a refrain this season that results would follow if the Padres were to cut down on their whiffs. Wednesday was a prime example.
"Contact's better than punching out," Green said. "It's not the way you envision winning, tripping over the guy at first base. But it got the job done."
Renfroe's hit marked the Padres' second go-ahead or game-tying pinch-hit this season, and the first since Chase Headley did so against the Dodgers on April 17. It was the first time the Padres had walked off on an error since April 27, 2013, against the Giants.
Franmil Reyes opened the rally by working a walk against Marlins closer Brad Ziegler. Galvis followed with an opposite-field double two batters later. After Manuel Margot was intentionally walked, Green called on Renfroe.
Up to that point, the Padres' bats had been silent -- aside from yet another Reyes home run. Starlin Castro's two-run blast in the fourth gave the Marlins the lead. Reyes' responded with a towering drive in the bottom half of the frame.
The rookie right fielder went to the opposite field with a 3-2 fastball on the outside corner. The ball caromed off the right-field foul pole for his third home run in as many games. Reyes' 40-degree launch angle was the highest on a Padres home run this season.
"He's got a lot [of power] all over the ballpark," Green said. "There's certain types of guys that can leave the park anywhere."
Left-hander Clayton Richard was strong over seven innings, but he made one costly mistake. He left a 3-2 fastball down the heart of the plate to Castro, and it landed in the Padres' bullpen. Otherwise, Richard was excellent, working seven innings of four-hit ball. He struck out five and recorded 14 of his 21 outs via the ground ball.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sizzling Strahm: Lefty reliever Matt Strahm picked up right where Richard left off. He made quick work of the Marlins in the eighth and ninth innings, retiring all six hitters he faced in order. Strahm missed the first month of the season as he worked his way back from surgery on his left knee last July. In his first appearance, he allowed three runs. But since then, he's allowed one earned run in his last seven outings -- a span of 9 1/3 innings.
Wheeling and dealing: Richard wasn't in trouble often, but he escaped a tricky spot in the fifth after putting the first two runners on base. In an obvious bunt situation with Urena at the plate, the Padres executed the wheel play to perfection. Catcher Raffy Lopez sprung from his crouch and fired to the shortstop Galvis, who was covering third. Three batters later, Richard got out of the jam by getting Castro to ground to second.
Richard's outing continued a somewhat puzzling trend. The veteran left-hander has quality starts in all six of his outings against teams outside the National League West and a 2.66 ERA. In six games against teams within the division, he has yet to record a quality start and owns a 7.80 ERA.
HE SAID IT
"And the ball was thrown away at first base. Here comes the other run. Here's the ballgame. Here come the Padres out of the dugout. An error on a throw to first base after they had come on home, and the Padres have their second walk-off the year! How 'bout them boys!" -- Beloved Padres radio broadcaster Ted Leitner, calling the final play; Leitner will have surgery on Thursday to remove a cancerous tumor in his kidney and will take an indefinite leave of absence
In his last start at Petco Park, Jordan Lyles carried a perfect game into the eighth inning against the Rockies. In two starts since, he hasn't found that same groove. Still, Lyles is establishing himself as a crucial piece of the Padres' rotation, and he gets the ball for Thursday's finale. The Marlins counter with left-hander Wei-Yin Chen. First pitch is slated for 6:10 p.m. PT.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.