Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson

Tucson Sweeps Double-Header!
July 13, 2013, 14:42
Filed under: Uncategorized

Your #1 Tucson Padres have taken their biggest lead in the Division race to date as they swept the Las Vegas 51s in the double-header last night!  It always amazes me how two teams can play back-to-back games that are so completely different, even though few of the players (or field conditions) change.  That was especially true last night – game one featured excellent Padres pitching for a shutout; game two saw the Pads get excellent production on a minimum of hitting – and two milestone dingers adding to the team’s list of accomplishments for the year.  Let’s take a look at each game.

Game One:  Tucson 6; Las Vegas 0.  Tyson Ross took his first start as a Tucson Padre last night (in his previous stint with Tucson, he was a San Diego Padre on rehab) and did an incredible job!  Through five innings (of seven, mind you!), Tyson held Vegas off the scoreboard and allowed only three hits and two walks.  Brad Boxberger followed up with a scoreless/hitless inning of relief and Colt Hynes finished the 51s off with one scoreless inning of work (he allowed one hit).  Meanwhile, Tucson put up a run in the second when Daniel Robertson hit an RBI single against Vegas starter D.J. Mitchell, scoring Jonathan Galvez (who reached on a two-out double).  Mitchell is typically a reliever and was taking a spot-start for the 51s.  He was stingy with the hits-allowed, but Tucson made the most of those – and we were also the beneficiary of some luck.  There were a couple of infield balls that took strange hops in Tucson’s favor…and one of those helped Tucson extend their lead in the fourth.  Ben Francisco hit a one-out double – Galvez was hit by a pitch – and Vegas sent in their first reliever of the game to face Eddy Rodriquez.  Eddy popped out and D-Rob followed him to the plate.  Two out, two on and D-Rob hits one that looked like an easy groundout to third…but the ball hit something and leapt up over the third baseman’s head, giving D-Rob his second RBI single in the game.  Tyson then took his second turn at-bat…HE hit an RBI single, too!  More pitching changes and scoreless innings, until the top of the seventh – the final inning of the game.  Gregorio Petit popped out to second (he hasn’t had a hit since arriving in Vegas!) and was followed by Brandon Allen, who took a four-pitch walk…then Ben took a 4-pitch walk!  With Galvez at the plate, both runners advanced on a wild pitch, but then Galvez took a walk to load the bases.  Pitching change for Vegas.  Cody Decker came in to pinch hit for Eddy – he reached first on an error and two runs scored!  D-Rob popped out and we were down to our final at-bat…Chris Robinson pinch-hitting in the pitcher’s spot – the Vegas hurler tosses a wild pitch and Galvez scores from third (before C-Rob struck out)!  Three runs in the inning without a single HIT!  And then Colt was on to close things out.  What a game!  Three pitchers combined for a four-hit shutout – well done, Tucson!

Game Two:  Tucson 5, Las Vegas 4 – 8 Innings.  Las Vegas used one of their starters in game two, RHP Chris Schwinden, and he was pretty effective against the T-Pad bats.  The Pads countered with LHP Robbie Erlin, in his first start since being optioned back to Tucson (this time).  Robbie allowed a ton of hits (nine) but no walks, and yet somehow Tucson was mostly able to keep the 51s from scoring.  It kind of reminded me of how TUCSON has been playing in a lot of games recently – hitting like crazy, but stranding ‘em on the bases.  Turnabout is fair play, they say…and it worked last night.  Vegas did put a scare in me when they scored first in the game off a solo homer in the bottom of the second.  After the 51s crushed Tucson pitching with four homers the night before, I was afraid this game would be a repeat.  It wasn’t.  Whew!  Vegas did put up a second run in the third and to that point Tucson had had only ONE base-runner (a first-inning walk) against Schwinden.  But then came the fourth inning.  Tucson got two quick outs before Brandon Allen got the team’s first hit in the game, a single.  Cody Decker then smashed out his 100th professional home run, a two-run dinger to left centerfield!  CONGRATULATIONS to Cody on that major milestone!  (You may remember that former T-Pad Matt Clark also got his 100th homer while playing with Tucson last season.)   And with the dinger, the game was suddenly tied!  Jonathan Galvez then hit a single – but was caught stealing to end the inning.  Tied game!  Robbie struck out the side in the fourth, but in between the first two Ks and the last one, another run scored (unearned because of a Tucson error).  Vegas up by one again…not for long!  Jaff Decker, who’d been at the plate when Galvez was caught stealing, took full advantage of his second shot with the AB, smashing out a double to start our fifth inning.  Chris Robinson then ground out, bringing Kalian Sams in to pinch-hit for Tucson.  The kid who was rumored to bring us great power because he was launching the ball deep for San Antonio, finally lived up to his billing as he went deep against Vegas for a two-run homer – his first homer in AAA!  Well done, Kalian – and it sure came at an important time!  Tucson ahead by a run, once again!  Jorge Reyes took over for Robbie in the fifth – he allowed two hits but no runs in one inning of work.  Tommy Layne took the start of the sixth and pitched to one batter, allowing a single.  That was kind of odd, but it appeared planned, for some reason, by Tucson Manager Pat Murphy.  So, Kevin Quackenbush took the next batters in the sixth and got out of it without allowing a run.  Vegas finally relieved Schwinden for the seventh – Tucson got a hit and a walk, but no runs.  Kevin stayed in for the bottom of the seventh – the final inning of the game – and allowed three consecutive singles and a run to tie the game and blow his save opportunity.  Fortunately, he induced a double-play ball to end the inning before Vegas won the game, but that forced the teams into extra-inning play.  New pitcher for both teams in the eighth.  Ben Francisco led off the top of the eighth with a single, stole a base and reached third on an error!  No outs, man on third!  Vegas got a strikeout, but then intentionally walked pinch-hitting Mike Wilson.  Galvez at the plate – and he hits into a fielder’s choice, but that scores the go-ahead run!  It was all we would get, but it turns out it was enough, because Tucson’s Ryan Kelly closed things up with a one-two-three frame against Vegas!  Oh wow, that was exciting!  Kelly earned his first AAA save; Quackenbush his fourth win (along with his second blown save).  Here’s a stat I found fascinating in last night’s game:  Vegas got four runs on 16 hits; Tucson got five runs on only 7 hits!  Those numbers just don’t make sense – but I’m sure glad that our total runs outnumbered Vegas’!

Your Padres are now 3 games ahead of second place Sacramento in the Southern Division standings.  Vegas has fallen to third place, 3 ½ games behind their leader, your Tucson Padres!  One more game tonight before the teams head to the All-Star break – and Tucson already knows that they will go into the break as the LEADER in the Division!  That’s got to be a nice feeling.  Go Tucson – win the game/series tonight, too!

Transactions.  San Diego did make a number of moves late yesterday.  Because Sean O’Sullivan was not on the 40-man roster, his call-up was not a completely simple matter.  The Parent Unit selected his contract and designated newly acquired Pedro Ciriaco for assignment.  They activated Yonder Alonso from the DL, so he was not with Tucson last night (they also activated Jedd Gyorko from the DL – he did his rehab stint with Lake Elsinore).  San Diego also optioned Miles Mikolas back to Tucson.  I know that’s not good for him, but I’m relieved that he’s back in our pen!  The organization put Kyle Blanks on the 15-day DL and Clayton Richard on the 60-day DL.  Some of those moves made room for Sean…but also eliminated the chance that we might get an infielder with Alonso and Gyorko coming off the DL.  FYI:  Sean went five innings in his first start as a San Diego Padre…he allowed only two runs, but suffered the loss vs. San Fran.  He hit a double, too!

One More Game, Then It’s All-Star Time!   The Tucson Padres finish their series against the Las Vegas 51s (AAA NY Mets) tonight at 7:05pm.  You can catch that game live on local radio 1290AM The Source or live-streaming off the team’s website.  Both teams will have an off-day tomorrow, followed by the AAA All-Star Break, Monday through Wednesday.  Remember, you can watch the AAA All-Star Game live from Reno on MLB Network, Wednesday, July 17th, at 6:05pm.  The game will feature the PCL All-Stars (including your T-Pad representatives Dean Anna and Colt Hynes!) vs. the International League All-Stars (which will include 2012 T-Pad, Vince Belnome!).  Regular season play will resume for your Tucson Padres here at home on Thursday, July 18th, versus the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (AAA Rockies).  Mark your calendars now so you won’t miss a chance to see your #1 Tucson Padres in action!

(Disclaimer – This posting has not been reviewed or approved by Pima County, the City of Tucson, the Tucson Padres, Tucson AAA Baseball, San Diego Padres, PCL, MiLB, MLB, National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority, or any other baseball official and represents the views and biases of the author alone)


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