Padres grind out key hits against Giants
After struggling early vs. Bumgarner, San Diego finds enough offense to win
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Padres didn't get their first baserunner until there were two outs in the fifth inning Tuesday, a testament to the way Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner was pitching on a cool night at AT&T Park.
At one point, their 2-3-4 hitters, Derek Norris, Justin Upton and Matt Kemp, were a combined 0-for-11 with 11 strikeouts.
Not exactly a recipe ripe for victory, right?
But despite striking out 18 times, 14 against Bumgarner, the Padres managed to not only hang around but win it in the 11th inning when Alexi Amarista knocked in a run with a single off the glove of Giants reliever Hunter Strickland for a 3-2 victory.
"It felt good. It felt great the way guys battled the way they did and came up big," said Padres interim manager Pat Murphy. "It's a great team win. Had a little luck with the ball going off the glove, but we needed some of that. We had a couple things go against us here and there."
There wasn't much luck -- or hits or anything -- going the Padres' way early, as Bumgarner had the team handcuffed. Bumgarner retired the first 14 hitters he faced, 10 on strikeouts alone.
"This is a really big win for us," said Padres third baseman Will Middlebrooks. "Bumgarner was nasty tonight, he was on. Just grind-it-out at-bats and find a way to get some baserunners and give ourselves a chance. A couple guys came through with some big hits."
Those couple of guys -- Will Venable and Amarista -- didn't even start Tuesday's game, but they helped finish it.
Trailing, 2-0, in the eighth inning, Yonder Alonso walked and moved to third base on a double by Middlebrooks. Clint Barmes then struck out, which earned Murphy his first big league ejection as he argued balls and strikes with plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth.
That brought up Venable, who entered the game in the sixth inning as a pinch-hitter for starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne. After swinging through a curveball for a strike, Venable got a fastball up the strike zone, lining it the other way just inside the left-field line for two runs to tie the game.
"Just something up, just see it up and let it go," Venable said of what he was looking for from Bumgarner. "He had me out front on a curveball and I got back to the left side of the field and let it get deep and was able to throw that out there."
Amarista only entered the game in the eighth inning after Kemp was ejected in the top half of the inning. Amarista came to the plate in the 11th inning after Norris doubled and Upton singled. Amarista rolled a 1-0 fastball up the middle that glanced off Strickland's glove, allowing Norris to score the go-ahead run.
For a team still searching for any semblance of consistency, Venable hopes a big comeback win like this one can help the Padres build some momentum.
"We're trying to build and get consistent back-to-back days and get a streak. To do that, we've got to go out and play a good ballgame tomorrow," Venable said.