SAN DIEGO -- Down a run and with just three outs to work with against Braves reliever Arodys Vizcaino, things weren't looking good for the Padres on Tuesday night.Vizcaino has been one of the better relievers in baseball this season, and entered the game with a 1.52 ERA -- the
SAN DIEGO -- Down a run and with just three outs to work with against Braves reliever Arodys Vizcaino, things weren't looking good for the Padres on Tuesday night.
Vizcaino has been one of the better relievers in baseball this season, and entered the game with a 1.52 ERA -- the fourth-best mark in the National League among qualified relievers.
That made no difference to San Diego catcher Derek Norris, who drove the second pitch he saw -- a 97 mph chest-high fastball that drifted back over the plate -- over the left-center-fence to tie the game at three and give first baseman Wil Myers the opportunity to hand the Padres a 4-3 walk off win just a few batters later.
"I think if you look back maybe in the last week, the pull side kind of gets opened up to D-No where he's actually back-spinning some balls to the pull side," said Padres manager Andy Green. "He's got a few home runs that way recently. And I think that was kind of a continuation of that."
Myers explained Norris' homer a bit more succinctly.
"Well it was a 97 mph fastball up and he turned it around," he said. "So it was pretty impressive -- on a line."
However it's described, it was just the second home run that Vizcaino has allowed all season and proved to be the turning point of a game that the Braves had led from the third inning. Vizcaino appeared rattled, and the Padres hitters took advantage.
"There's not a lot of teams -- despite the Braves struggles -- who have really hit him very hard this season," Green said of Vizcaino.
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Alexei Ramirez joined Norris as one of the few hitters who have managed to hit him hard, by following the home run with a single to left field that left his bat at 97-mph. He stole second base, and then advanced to third after Vizcaino sent a wild pitch to the backstop.
After a walk to pinch-hitter Travis Jankowski, and a line out by Jon Jay, Vizcaino decided to go after No. 2 hitter Myers a bit differently than the flamethrower approach he attempted with Norris.
"He's got kind of a devastating slider," Green said after the game.
True enough. In addition to throwing a fastball that sits in the upper 90s, Vizcaino has a slider up his sleeve -- a pitch that has generated whiffs 57 percent of the time this season, and limited opposing batters to a .120 average.
Just like Norris though, that made no difference to Myers. He jumped on the first 87-mph slider that he saw and drove it into left field, scoring Ramirez and giving San Diego the series victory against Atlanta.
"That's a fun way to end a baseball game," Green said.
Carlos Collazo is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @CarlosACollazo.