It was much of the same for the Padres through the first five innings, and throughout most of the game in the opening of the three game series against the Kansas City Royals. The Friars’ bats were cold for the most part, but timely hitting and a couple of big swings of the bat helped the Padres edge out the visiting Royals. Will Venable came up big in the bottom of the twelfth with a game-winning double to score the winning runs. The two other game changing moments came in the form of a big, three run blast off the bat of Yasmani Grandal, and the second came with a one out blast in the bottom of the ninth from the Padres second baseman, Jedd Gyorko.
Yordano Ventura, Kansas City’s hard-throwing pitcher did not make things easy on the struggling Padres. For a team that is trying to break a slump, it could not have been more difficult than what they faced in Ventura—a hard throwing pitcher who consistently hits 95-97mph on the speed gun and then has the ability to pull the string and deliver an 86 mph curveball. The young pitcher from the Dominican Republic is the hardest thrower in baseball, and on Monday night, he showed great command of the heater and used a solid breaking pitch that kept the Padres off balance.
San Diego Padres catcher, Yasmani Grandal, was able to take advantage of the one mistake from Ventura when he crushed a hanging breaking pitch from the 22-year-old fireball thrower in the bottom of the sixth. Prior to Grandal’s blast, Ventura looked like he was going to mow through the Friars lineup. The young pitcher looked dominate and, for the first five innings, the Padres appeared to be overmatched. The Padres made things happen in the sixth, scoring three runs that started with a hit from Everth Cabrera, a double to right by Seth Smith and then the towering home run by Grandal.
On the pitching end, the Padres ran into a bit of bad luck. Starting pitcher for the Padres, Eric Stults was the victim on Monday night of numerous seeing-eye hits, as Kansas City racked up hit after hit on balls that found holes in the Friars defense. In 4.2 innings, he gave up 11 hits, zero walks and allowed three earned runs, a typically solid outing for Stults. Unfortunately, the ball was finding some open spaces and the Royals were able to take advantage, scoring one in the second and two in the fifth.
Just when it looked like the Padres had the momentum after tying the game in the bottom of the sixth, the Royals jumped back on top with a home run off the bat of Eric Hosmer, but the Padres fought back in the ninth with another home run, this time off the bat of Jedd Gyorko.
Despite the two home runs by the Padres, they only managed to put together six total hits through eleven innings, compared to 16 from the Royals, but the Friars came up big in the bottom of the twelfth as they put together three hits, including the game winner from Venable. It was another night of mostly quiet bats, but they came alive in big moments, and timely hits helped push the Padres over the hump. It was a big win and it should give them some good momentum going into the second game of the series.
Commentary by Johnny Caito