Monday, August 4, 2014

Game of the Day (8/3/14)

Padres 4, Braves 3 (10). Second verse, extremely similar to the first. The game was started by Atlanta's Aaron Harang and San Diego's Tyson Ross, both right-handers whose careers appear to have peaked in their late 20's. The difference is that Ross, who is 27, is just entering that period, while Harang, who is 36, left it a long time ago.

Ross allowed a first-inning single to Tommy La Stella, then induced a double play ball from Freddie Freeman. Everth Cabrera led off the bottom of the inning with a single and stole second, then swiped third two outs later while Tommy Medica drew ball four. Yasmani Grandal grounded out to leave them at the corners. Ross was perfect in the second, and in the bottom of the inning, he singled to score Will Venable, who'd led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a groundout.

Ross worked a 1-2-3 third, while Harang allowed only a Seth Smith single. Freeman singled with two outs in the fourth before being stranded. San Diego then tacked on another run, starting with a Venable walk and a single by Alexi Amarista that ended with runners at second and third thanks to a throw to the latter base. Rene Rivera grounded to third, getting Venable thrown out in a rundown. Ross then drew a walk to load the bases, and Cabrera brought Amarista home with a sacrifice fly.

Ross faced down his first big threat in the fifth. Heyward led off with a single, stole second, and took third on a wild pitch. Ramiro Pena was then intentionally walked and stole second with two outs, and Harang fanned to leave both runners on. Harang was perfect in the fifth, as was Ross in the sixth; Rivera drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the sixth and moved to second on a wild pitch before Ross fouled out to strand him.

Justin Upton led off the seventh with a walk, Heyward tripled, and Evan Gattis doubled, and suddenly the game was tied at two and Ross was headed for the dugout. Nick Vincent relieved and allowed a Chris Johnson double, but Gattis somehow only made it to third; Pena then walked to load the bases with nobody out, but pinch hitter Emilio Bonifacio struck out, and BJ Upton hit into a double play to keep the game tied. Anthony Varvaro retired the Padres in order in the bottom of the inning, while Kevin Quackenbush allowed a leadoff hit to La Stella in the top of the eighth, then induced a pair of forceouts before being pulled for Alex Torres, who saw Justin Upton thrown out trying to take second on a pitch that wasn't quite wild enough.

Medica led off the bottom of the eighth with a homer, putting the Padres back in front and chasing Varvaro. James Russell came on to work the rest of the inning, allowing only an Amarista single. Heyward then greeted Joaquin Benoit with a double; Gattis grounded back to the mound, Benoit tried to throw Heyward out at third, and Yangervis Solarte misplayed the throw, allowing Heyward to race home with the tying run. Benoit retired the next three hitters with a minimum of fuss. Juan Jaime allowed a leadoff hit to pinch hitter Yonder Alonso in the bottom of the ninth, then issued two-out walks to Smith and Medica before getting Jedd Gyorko to ground out, sending the game to a tenth inning.

Tim Stauffer threw a 1-2-3 top of the tenth, and David Hale took the mound in the bottom of the inning. Venable led off with a single, and Amarista walked. Rivera bunted into the highly rare 1-5-3 double play, leaving Amarista at second as the lone Padre still on base. Chris Nelson walked, and the runners then double-stole third and second. That brought Cabrera to the plate, and he singled Amarista home with the winning run.

By WPA, the Braves got one of the five or so best games in Jason Heyward's career to date - 3 for 4 with a double, a triple, a steal, an RBI, and two game-tying runs scored, good for a +.558. But the Padres countered with one of Evereth Cabrera's best efforts, 2 for 4 with two steals, a sac fly, and two RBI, one of which ended the game; +.403 in total. More importantly, San Diego's anemic lineup actually got some production from players other than Cabrera - Tommy Medica homered and walked twice, while Will Venable and Alexi Amarista had two hits apiece. Combine that with a good performance from the Padre bullpen, and you've got just enough to come out with yet another exciting win, finishing off a sweep of a significantly better team.

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