Friday, May 22, 2009

Padres-Giants: Drama Starts, Ends Day in Padres' 3-2 Win

What a wirlwind day it had been for the San Diego Padres as a whole. The day started with a story reported by the San Diego Union Tribune that the Padres were close to a deal that would send ace Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox.

By high noon in San Diego, the deal had been agreed upon and the players coming back to San Diego had been decided, all that was left was Peavy's decision on whether or not he was going to waive his no-trade clause and become a member of the White Sox.

Then, just a few hours prior to the Padres' game against the San Francisco Giants, Peavy decided that he wasn't ready to move on and decided to veto the trade. Although Jake declined to make a comment regarding everything that happened on Thursday, he did tell reporters who gathered around the dugout prior to the Padres' game, “San Diego is best for us right now; I don't want to be a distraction to my teammates.” He will apparently go into more detail after his start on Friday night against the Cubs, that should be a very interesting press conference.

So, after all that was said and done and after the Padres' trade Jody Gerut to Milwaukee to bring back a famous son, Tony Gwynn Jr, the Padres saddled up to take on the San Francisco Giants for the third of a three game set, the Padres taking the previous two.

Kevin Correia picked a great time for his best start of the season, because it came against his former team who banished him to the bullpen in 2008. Correia gave up just one run on six hits, striking out three and, for the first time all season, didn't walk a single batter in his six and one third innings pitched, dropping his ERA from 5.06 to 4.53.

San Diego jumped on top of the Giants, against ace Tim Lincecum who struck out 10 in seven innings of work, 1-0 on an RBI single from second baseman David Eckstein in the fourth. But before that, Eck auditioned for an acting job in the top half of the fourth.

Giants' second baseman Eugenio Valez popped a ball high in the air, Eckstein backed up just shy of the outfield grass and put his glove up like he was going to make the catch. What Giants' outfielder Aaron Rowand, who had singled to lead off the inning, as well as other Padre teammates didn't know was, Eck had lost the ball in the twilight. The ball dropped in front of him, but because Rowand had gone back to first, short stop Chris Burke was able to grab the ball and tag Rowand for the first out of the inning.

That Padres 1-0 lead would hold until the sixth inning when Aaron Rowand, fooled two innings earlier, wasn't fooled on a 2-0 fastball from Correia launching it to left to tie the game 1-1, Rowand's fourth of the season.

The game would remain tied until the top half of the ninth when Heath Bell would give up his first run all season, a streak of 16 2/3 innings, an RBI single from Randy Winn putting the Giants on top, 2-1.

The Giants would bring in closer Brian Wilson to try and close out the game and keep the Padres from finishing their three game sweep.

Kevin Kouzmanoff led off the inning with an infield single and then would be sacraficed to second on a bunt by catcher Nick Hundley. That brought up the newest Padre, Tony Gwynn Jr. You have to believe that there were nerves going through him that he had never felt before, nerves of wearing the uniform of the team he had grown up around and a uniform his father had worn for so long. If he had those nerves, you couldn't tell as the younger Gwynn worked a five pitch walk.

After Wilson struck out Edgar Gonzalez, Brian Giles would then work a walk to load the bases which brought up David Eckstein who had put the Padres ahead earlier in the game. On the first pitch, the unthinkable happened as Brian Wilson hit Eckstein in the upper arm with a fastball, forcing in Kevin Kouzmanoff and tying the game, 2-2.

Scott Hairston would step to the plate and after taking a first pitch strike, jumped all over a 0-1 slider and lined it into left field, scoring Gwynn and sending the Padres home with a 3-2 win, the Padres' sixth straight win. How appropriate that the winning run, in his first game ever in a Padres uniform, was Tony Gwynn Jr.

After all the drama that started the day, it was only right that the Padres ended the day with drama, but this was the good kind. The Padres get their sixth straight win and their second straight series sweep including their second sweep of the Giants this season.

The Padres will welcome in the Chicago Cubs for the first of a three game set on Friday night from Petco Park. The pitcher that had all the drama surrounding him on Thursday will make the start on Friday as Jake Peavy (3-5, 3.82)will take the ball for San Diego. This should be a fun game to watch as Peavy will take on Cubs' ace Carlos Zambrano (3-1, 4.50).

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