There was a little bit of something for everybody in this first of two games being played south of the border in Mexico City. Robbie Ray and the Arizona Diamondbacks played host to Garrett Richards and the San Diego Padres from the gorgeous new home of the Diablos Rojos. Both starting pitchers came armed with their good stuff, leading to a low-scoring affair. However, despite the score, there was plenty going on.
This inning was mostly quiet. Fernando Tatis Jr had a two-out single, but nothing came of it. Richards retired the Diamondbacks in order.
Robbie Ray made quick work of the Padres, sitting them down in order, including a three-pitch strikeout of Eric Hosmer that had the Padres’ first baseman looking silly. It was the sort of at-bat that will be shown on Baseball Tonight numerous times, while Hosmer would really like it if the video evidence just disappeared.
With one out in the inning and facing a full count, Christian Walker hit a towering fly ball to left field. It looked like Tommy Pham was going to make a play on it, but the ball just kept drifting. Eventually, it landed two rows back in the seats, just barely out of the reach of Pham as he climbed the wall. It was the sort of home run that is more often a long out than a run-scoring hit, the total distance being only 360 feet and the exit velocity being a mild 91,9 mph. Kole Calhoun followed that up by grounding out. Carson Kelly then walked. That brought up Nick Ahmed. Ahmed put a lovely swing on the ball, hitting an exit velocity of 105.6 mph on a line drive to left center field that, instead of going for a home run, hit the fence in front of the bullpen and stayed in play, limiting Ahmed to a double. The baseball gods giveth, then they taketh away. Five pitches later, Ray grounded out to second, ending the inning.
SD 0 - AZ 1
A single by Austin Hedges and a sacrifice bunt by Richards put the tying run in scoring position for the Padres. Ray was unfazed and made strikeout victims of Pham and Trent Grisham to end the inning.
Garrett Richards needed only eight pitches to retire the top of the Arizona lineup. It was quickly becoming clear just what sort of game everyone was in for.
SD 0 - AZ 1
Ray responded in the fourth by once again retiring the Padres in order. This included swinging strikeouts of Tatis Jr and Jurickson Profar.
For the second time in the game, Eduardo Escobar led off the Diamondbacks’ half of the inning. This time though, he really caught hold of one, managing to fly out to shallow second. Christian Walker then stepped in. Though he ran the count to 2-2, Richards had him off balance throughout the at-bat, retiring Walker with a breaking pitch nowhere near the zone. Calhoun was next. After getting Calhoun to bite on the same pitch that retired Walker, he tried to come in with a fastball. He didn’t get int in far enough. More fireworks ensued as Calhoun sent the ball 385 feet into right. This brought up Carson Kelly. With the count full, Kelly put just about the ugliest of swings on Richards’ nasty power curve, topping the ball towards short at a whopping 68.1 mph. The ball just sort of bounced out into no-man’s land and died. There was nothing Tatis could do to get Kelly at first, safe by means of a swinging bunt. Nick Ahmed then drew a walk. This brought up Ray again. Unfortunately, Ray was unable to help himself. He struck out swinging to end the side.
SD 0 - AZ 2
Yasiel Puig was first to step into the box for the Padres in the fifth. With the count 1-1, Puig was plunked by Ray. He took his base and the trainers looked him over. Apparently, they didn’t like what they saw. Wil Myers was brought in to replace Puig. Myers wasted no time making an impact. On Ray’s first pitch to Eric Hosmer, Myers stole second. Carson Kelly made a strong throw, but Myers had already stolen the base on Ray. Hosmer finished his at-bat by drawing a four-pitch walk. That brought up Hedges. Hedges, like his Arizona counterpart, put an ugly swing on a well-placed curve and had it roll out for a swinging bunt. This one was fielded in front of the hole by Eduardo Escobar, but there was simply no play to be made. Richards then struck out swinging and Pham looking. It was starting to look like Ray might wiggle off the hook. Down 0-1, Grisham expanded his strike zone. He poked a Ray fastball into left field for a single, scoring Myers. With two outs in the inning, Hosmer was running hard on contact. He rounded third and made for home. The hit to left was a weak one, forcing Peralta to charge hard to make a play on the ball in time to make the throw home. Hosmer slid in safe ahead of Peralta’s throw, tying the game up at two. Visibly unhappy with how the inning was turning out, Ray went back to work and took out his frustrations on Fernando Tatis Jr. The star shortstop stuck out swinging at five consecutive breaking balls from Ray.
Josh Naylor took the field in right, filling in for the injured Puig. Starling Marte led things off with a single. David Peralta then struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch down the pipe. That brought up Ketel Marte. Marte hit a hot shot that was fielded deep at second base by Profar. Though Profar was unable to make a play on Ketel Marte at first, his diving stop did prevent Starling Marte from taking third. This brought up Eduardo Escobar with a chance to put the Diamondbacks back on top. Alas, Escobar hit the first pitch he saw directly to Manny Machado for an easy, routine 5-4-3 double play.
SD 2 - AZ 2
Strikeouts of Machado and Profar brought Josh Naylor to the plate for his first at-bat of the day. He promptly singled and was followed by Eric Hosmer, who also singled. This brought up Austin Hedges, with the Padres now threatening to take the lead. Ray was having none of it, striking out Hedges swinging with a fastball at the top of the zone.
Having thrown only 80 pitches and also having looked fairly strong through five innings, it was somewhat of a surprise that Richards did not take the mound again to pitch the sixth. Instead, Virtual Jayce Tingler sent Emilio Pagan out to pitch the sixth. It seems that might have been the right call as Pagan struck out the side.
SD 2 - AZ 2
Despite being at 98 pitches, Ray went back out to pitch the seventh inning to face left-handed pinch-hitter, Franchy Cordero. Three strike pitches later, Cordero was done and so was Ray. Ray finished the day having only allowed two runs on six hits and a single walk. Meanwhile, he did that Robbie Ray thing and piled up 12 strikeouts. With one down, Ray turned the ball over to Hector Rondon. Rondon picked up right where Ray left off, striking out both Pham and Grisham to end the top of the seventh, sending everyone into the stretch in a tie game.
Drew Pomeranz took over pitching duties for the Padres. He began things by walking Nick Ahmed. This brought up the pitcher’s spot in the order, so Stephen Vogt was asked to pinch-hit. On a 2-2 count Ahmed broke for second. Vogt swung through a fastball, striking out. Austin Hedges then did his thing and threw a perfect strike to the base at second, allowing Tatis to simply leave his glove in place to catch Ahmed on the back half of a strike ‘em out - throw’em out double play. Starling Marte then struck out swinging.
SD 2- AZ 2
Kevin Ginkel came into the game to pitch for the Diamondbacks and pitched a perfect frame. Pomeranz remained in the game for the Padres long enough to strike out Peralta. He then gave way to Andres Munoz, who made quick work of Ketel Marte and Escobar.
SD 2 - AZ 2
Kevin Ginkel remained in the game to pitch the ninth inning. After two quick outs, the Padres called on Francisco Mejia to pinch-hit for catcher, Austin Hedges. Mejia lined a double to left. The Padres then sent left-handed pinch-hitter, Greg Garcia to the plate. Garcia sent a ball into the gap between center and right. Kole Calhoun was able to cut the ball off quickly and fired home, reaching Carson Kelly on the fly just in time to nab Mejia trying to score on the play, ending the inning.
Trevor Megill pitched for the Padres, retiring the side in order and sending the game into extras.
SD 2 - AZ 2
Archie Bradley came on to pitch the tenth, facing the top of the San Diego order. He pitched a clean frame to give his team another shot at taking the lead.
Kirby Yates took the mound for the Padres. He walked Nick Ahmed, bringing up the pitcher’s spot. Bradley was lifted in favor of Jake Lamb, who came to the plate with the platoon advantage. With the count full, Ahmed took off and Lamb hit a low liner into left. Pham made a terrific diving play on the ball as Ahmed was already rounding second. This made for an easy throw back to first for a double play. Starling Marte then struck out.
SD 2 - AZ 2
Yoan Lopez was next to take the mound for the Diamondbacks. After walking Machado on four straight pitches, he made quick work of the next three batters.
Craig Stammen entered the game to pitch for the Padres. With the count 1-2, Peralta launched a home run 416 feet to left center to end the game.
Final Score SD 2 - AZ 3
Player of the game honors went to Ray for his masterful performance. The goat of the game was clearly Eduardo Escobar, who not only had a day to forget at the plate, but had a bit of an adventurous day at third as well.
In the postgame conference, Virtual Tingler revealed that the reason Richards did not come back out to pitch the sixth inning is because Richards reported having felt a muscle tweak on his pitch to Escobar that ended the inning. The team will re-evaluate Richards after returning to the States. Additionally, the team felt confident that there is a broken bone is Puig’s hand. Rather than wait a day or two for the swelling to go down and to get images, the team simply place Puig on the IL. The switch-hitting Breyvic Valera was already on his way from El Paso and expected to be in the dugout by game time tomorrow.
For game two of the series, the Padres will send right-hander Luis Patino to the mound to face off against left-hander Madison Bumgarner.
*The first AI-initiated trade proposal came in after the game. Virtual Michael Hill would have the Miami Marlins send 23-year-old RHP Franyel Casadilla to the Diamondbacks in exchange for 25-year-old RHP Cole Stapler. I have rejected this trade proposal.