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Ross leads Padres to win on mound, at bat

Starter limits Giants to unearned run in 6-plus innings, notches RBI single
April 13, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- Tyson Ross was dominant on the mound Friday night, but it was the Padres' offense -- held to one hit over the first 13 innings of the series against San Francisco -- in dire need of a spark.So Ross provided that, too.His fifth-inning RBI single opened the

SAN DIEGO -- Tyson Ross was dominant on the mound Friday night, but it was the Padres' offense -- held to one hit over the first 13 innings of the series against San Francisco -- in dire need of a spark.
So Ross provided that, too.
His fifth-inning RBI single opened the scoring, and the San Diego bats woke up quickly after that. Franchy Cordero homered, and Ross settled in for six-plus innings of one-run ball as the Padres beat the Giants, 5-1, on Friday night.
"We put everything together," said third baseman Christian Villanueva, who went 2-for-2 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. "Tyson did a great job. He got all the momentum going."

San Francisco left-hander Ty Blach had worked four hitless innings when Villanueva bounced a slow chopper up the third-base line to lead off the fifth. Evan Longoria couldn't convert his barehand attempt, and the Padres capitalized.
They loaded the bases for Ross, who was sitting on five very sharp innings and only 77 pitches. Manager Andy Green opted to let his starting pitcher bat, and he was promptly rewarded when Ross smacked an RBI single to the opposite field. Jose Pirela followed suit, giving the Padres a 2-0 lead.

"Our pitchers rake right now," said Green, an allusion to Clayton Richard's two hits -- including a three-run homer -- this week. "The way [Ross] was throwing the baseball with as short as our bullpen was … he did a lot for us."
The Padres doubled that edge in the sixth -- more than enough support for Ross, who worked six innings for the third time in three starts this season. He used his fastball/slider combo to great success, allowing only an unearned on seven hits and a walk while striking out five.
It's been a triumphant return to the Padres for Ross, who missed almost all of 2016 with a shoulder injury, then spent '17 with Texas struggling to regain his old form. He threw 45 sliders Friday night and recorded 10 swings and misses with the pitch.
"That's what I did in '14, '15, when I was going good," Ross said.
Said Green of Ross' signature slider: "It was everything it's ever been. And that's saying a lot."

It's probably a bit too simplistic to say Ross is merely back to his old self. He was an All-Star in 2014 and posted a 3.16 ERA in parts of four seasons for San Diego. Since then, Ross says he's sacrificed a small amount of fastball velocity for better command of the pitch -- a result of being "older and wiser" as a pitcher.
"When you miss 15 months, you've got nothing to do but learn, unless you're going to bury your head in the sand and be stubborn," Ross said. "I tried to learn and be better and smarter when I came back."
So far, so good.
Cordero tacked on some insurance with a towering solo shot in the seventh. It was the second blast for the Padres' No. 10 prospect in 12 at-bats since his Wednesday callup.

Redemption for Galvis:Freddy Galvis' first error as a Padre came at a seemingly inopportune time in the top of the seventh inning. He dropped the throw from second baseman Carlos Asuaje on a potential double-play grounder. One run scored in the frame, but Galvis had his revenge, starting a crisp inning-ending double play on an Andrew McCutchen chopper.

Double the fun:Hunter Renfroe and Villanueva have a long history of success against left-handed pitching, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy opted to let Blach face the righty-hitting duo to open the sixth. Renfroe swatted an opposite-field double, and Villanueva drove him in three pitches later by doing the same. Galvis followed with an RBI single, ending Blach's night and giving the Padres a 4-0 lead.

For the second night in a row, Padres catcher Austin Hedges was at the center of an impressive double play. Friday's wasn't quite as dazzling as his spectacular grab in the series opener. But it proved crucial in the flow of the game. With one out in the fourth, Ross got Hunter Pence to chase a slider in the dirt. Hedges blocked the baseball, then fired to second in time to nab Brandon Crawford and end the inning.

"I was excited the first time I saw him throw off a mound in the spring. He just looked different, so much freer. He worked incredibly hard to get to where he is right now. It's good to see guys who have worked that hard get rewarded." -- Green on Ross
The turning point in the Padres' fifth-inning rally came when Asuaje hit a relatively routine chopper to Brandon Belt at first base. Belt initially looked to turn two, but bobbled the ball as he transferred it to his throwing hand. He flipped to first instead, where Asuaje dove head-first into the bag. He was called out, but the Padres orchestrated a successful challenge to load the bases.

Richard is still looking for a return to his excellent form from Opening Day. In two starts since, the veteran left-hander allowed nine earned runs in 10 innings. Richard faces the Giants on Saturday in the third game of their four-game set at 5:40 p.m. PT. He'll be opposed by left-hander Derek Holland.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.