The Padres bullpen has stepped up to fill a hole in San Diego’s rotation.
Eric Hosmer homered Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jersey , San Diego’s bullpen took a perfect game into the sixth inning and the Padres beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 on Tuesday night for their 10th win in 14 games.
This was the third bullpen game for San Diego this season, all since left-hander Joey Lucchesi went down with a right hip strain.
”These guys are all built to kind of grind through a lineup one time or cruise through a lineup or attack a lineup one time through,” Padres manager Andy Green said. ”They’re all built for nine batters pretty easily or 10 batters so it just makes sense to give them those types of pieces of a lineup for a first time through and keep hitters uncomfortable. I like it.”
Padres reliever Matt Strahm started the bullpen game and retired nine batters on 36 pitches, including four strikeouts. Adam Cimber (3-2) retired the next six with two strikeouts before Harrison Bader broke up the perfect game with an infield single in the sixth. Bader was promptly erased in a double play.
”In that situation, I know on a bullpen day, me coming in the fourth inning I’m probably looked at to get at least a few (innings),” Cimber said. ”You still take it one hitter at a time.”
Strahm, a lefty, and Cimber, a submarine righty, make a stark contrast for opposing hitters.
”It’s the opposite end of the spectrum,” Strahm said. ”He’s down on the right and I’m up on the left. It’s a good combo to come in.”
The Padres’ nine-man bullpen makes the starter-by-committee approach effective. Green said he plans to go with it again Sunday.
”We’ve got seven arms available Aaron Ekblad Jersey ,” Green said. ”I’m going to guess that’s more arms available than almost every team in major league baseball, so it’s not putting the stress on our bullpen that a lot of people presume it is.”
Brad Hand pitched the ninth for his 20th save.
Hosmer drove the first pitch of the fourth inning to center field to give the Padres a 1-0 lead. It was his second home run in three games.
A.J. Ellis tacked on two more with a two-out hit in the fourth. The Cardinals challenged the safe call on the second run, but replay showed the Freddy Galvis beat catcher Yadier Molina’s tag at home plate.
”Basically the first strike you see you want to be aggressive,” Ellis said. ”I found a pitch to find a hole on.”
Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas (7-2) struck out five in six innings and walked none. He has walked one or less in all seven of his home starts this season, but St. Louis still lost for the second time in three games.
”I felt like my stuff was pretty good today,” Mikolas said. ”I made some pretty good pitches. I think the ball Hosmer hit was a decent pitch.”
Marcell Ozuna’s RBI single snapped the Padres’ shutout bid in the seventh. Ozuna has driven in five runs in his last four games.
”I thought our offense did a pretty good job of getting some things rolling toward the end of the game,” Bader said. ”Just today, it just showed up a little too late.”
Padres: OF Franchy Cordero (right forearm strain) took batting practice and hopes to begin a rehab in a couple of days.
Cardinals: RHP Matt Bowman (right hand blisters) gave up a run in two innings Monday at Triple-A Memphis and could be activated by the end of the week.
Cardinals RHP Luke Weaver (3-5, 4.35 ERA) will get the start in the series finale against the Padres and LHP Eric Lauer (2-4, 6.64 ERA) on Wednesday at 7:15 CDT. Weaver has not allowed a run in 12 innings (two career starts) against San Diego. Lauer gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings against St. Louis on May 11.
PHOENIX — Right-hander Yoshihisa Hirano has been spectacularly efficient in his first season in Arizona, part of the reason the Diamondbacks will enter their four-game series against the San Diego Padres with the best bullpen ERA in the majors.
Hirano may be a major league rookie, but his work the last five seasons as a closer with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan has translated well.
Hirano Youth Jamie McGinn Jersey , 34, had a franchise-record 26-game scoreless streak broken in an 8-4 loss to St. Louis on Wednesday, when he finished one scoreless appearance short of tying former Red Sox right-hander Koji Uehara for the longest such streak by a Japanese-born pitcher in major league history. Even that loss could not diminish the value Hirano has had this season.
Arizona right-hander Shelby Miller is scheduled to face San Diego left-hander Eric Lauer in the first game of the series Thursday.
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo was Boston’s bench coach when Uehara set the record in 2013, so he can provide a comparison of Uehara and Hirano.
“They have the same work habits, which is pretty impressive,” Lovullo said. “They both come in and get their work done pregame. They come in and get their work done postgame. They find themselves healthy and strong and prepared for every single one of their outings.
“They both have a fearlessness to their game and an approach to understanding what needs to happen during each at-bat. They are not afraid to put the ball on the plate with two different pitches. They go out and expect to get outs. Very similar mind-set. Very similar makeup. Very similar confidence.”
Hirano is 2-0 with a 1.43 ERA in 42 appearances. He has 19 holds, fourth in the majors, and he has permitted only one of his 16 inherited runners to score while being primarily used in the seventh inning. Eighth-inning reliever Archie Bradley leads the majors with 22 holds and closer Brad Boxberger has 20 saves.
Uehara began the 2013 season in a similar setup role in the Boston bullpen before advancing to the closer’s role after injuries thinned the relief corps. He finished with 21 saves, a 1.09 ERA and an 0.57 WHIP.
“As soon as he became the closer, he gave off a certain edge and a certain confidence that was noticeable,” Lovullo said.
“It’s as close to a slam dunk, shut-down ninth-inning save as I’ve ever seen. He had this ability to collect outs and get through innings in 12 pitches or less. It was so quick Jonathan Huberdeau Jersey , the ninth inning was over before it even started. It was a very comfortable setting for all of us. You played the Boston Red Sox in 2013 for eight innings because the ninth inning was over. That’s what I remember.”
Hirano has a 1.01 WHIP, fourth among major league relievers with at least 40 appearances.
“He’s been very versatile,” Lovullo said. “He’s unfazed by any role we have asked him to do. He can pitch in traffic. He can start clean innings. He can get left-handers and right-handers out.”
The Diamondbacks lost two of three to St. Louis and have dropped five of their past six games overall. They took two out of three games in their only other series against the Padres this season, also at Chase Field.
San Diego has slumped over the last 2 1/2 weeks. The Padres have lost three in a row and are 3-13 since beating Atlanta 9-3 behind left-hander Clayton Richard on June 15. They have scored 30 runs in their last 10 games.
“We’re not getting hits with runners in scoring position,” San Diego manager Andy Green told reporters after a two-game sweep in Oakland.
“Sometimes the best thing you can do is relax, go play baseball and enjoy what you’re doing. Then the hits start coming.”
Christian Villanueva hit his 17th homer for the Padres in a 4-2 loss to the A’s Wednesday.
Miller is 0-2 with an 11.42 ERA in two starts this season after returning from a 14-month absence following Tommy John surgery in last May, 2017. He has given up 15 hits and 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings.
Miller is 2-2 with a 4.54 ERA in eight career appearances, including seven starts, against the Padres. He had a strong outing against them early last season, giving up four hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings in the third of his four starts before suffering the elbow injury.
Rookie Lauer joined the Padres’ rotation in late April and is 3-5 with a 5.08 ERA in 13 starts this season. He was 2-2 with a 2.76 ERA in six June starts and is 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA in seven road starts.
He has never faced the Diamondbacks.