'He gave us every chance': Padres can't take advantage of King gem

April 17th, 2024

MILWAUKEE – turned in a masterful performance on the mound at American Family Field on Wednesday afternoon.

The Padres’ 28-year-old right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a two-out single, and he still had a shutout intact into the eighth before the Brewers finally broke through for a run and went on to post a 1-0 win in the series finale.

King’s final stat line is impressive: only two hits and one run allowed in 7 2/3 innings to go along with just two walks. He also had 10 strikeouts, the second time he’s reached that mark in his career. He had 13 on Sept. 20, 2023 for the Yankees against the Blue Jays.

The only thing missing was a victory.

“Michael dominated today,” manager Mike Shildt said. “The presence, the rhythm, the conviction, the body language. Everything was top shelf. He threw a great ballgame. It was tough not to win.”

Five Brewers pitchers combined to shut out the Padres.

“I felt good. I felt like I had a steady mix and was able to command all my pitches,” King said.

During Tuesday night’s game, King and catcher Kyle Higashioka went over reports on Brewers batters and devised a game plan.

“I felt like we clicked, and I was able to execute,” King said.

After walking two batters in the second inning, King retired 15 in a row before Brewers cleanup batter Willy Adames connected for a single to right with two outs in the seventh.

“It was poorly executed, actually,” King said of the pitch that ended his bid for a no-hitter. “I was trying to go up. If it was up and away, I think it would have been a better result.”

King got the final out in the seventh and took the mound again in the eighth. With one out, he gave up a single to Brice Turang, who then stole second. King departed after striking out Jackson Chourio for the second out. Wandy Peralta came on and surrendered a run-scoring single to Blake Perkins for what would turn out to be the game’s lone tally.

“Wandy hadn’t given up a base hit to a right-handed hitter all year. It just didn’t work out,” Shildt said.

King rebounded strongly from his start on Friday against the Dodgers in Los Angeles in which he allowed four home runs and a career-high seven runs (four earned) in a game that the Padres won in 11 innings.

“I really try to have a short memory, whether it’s a good one or a bad one,” King said. “Once I go back out there, I just compete. I wasn’t thinking about anything. I was just going out there and executing. It was a good game plan.”

King has had his moments early on this season. He pitched seven scoreless innings and gave up only four hits in an April 6 start against the Giants in San Francisco.

Despite the dominant performance on Wednesday, King, who is in his first season with the Padres after five years with the Yankees, didn’t think it was the best of the 23 Major League starts that he’s made.

“I didn’t feel as powerful today as I have in the past,” he said. “I just executed really well.”

When asked when he realized he had a no-hitter in the works, King was quick to respond.

“First inning, I’m trying to go perfect every time,” he said, smiling.

King’s outing certainly caught the attention of Brewers manager Pat Murphy.

“You talk about hitting spots, throwing that two-seamer to both sides of the plate, the changeup, the sweeper. That kid was sensational,” Murphy said. “Nobody was hitting him today.”

The Padres generated little offense, but they did have a golden opportunity to get on the board in the eighth when Matthew Batten led off with a triple before being stranded.

“I put it on myself. I’ve got to get the ball to the outfield,” said Higashioka, who was the first to bat after Batten’s triple, and popped out to second base. “I just didn’t get it done.”

Higashioka lamented not being able to get a win for King.

“He gave us every chance to win,” he said. “It’s up to us to push runs across.”

Despite the loss, the Padres took two of three games in the series. After a day off on Thursday, they will face the Blue Jays in San Diego to begin a three-game set.