Game Three: Padres 4, Cardinals 0
The San Diego Padres advanced to the National League Division Series after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 on Friday night. After falling behind 1-0 in the best-of-three Wild Card Series, San Diego rallied from a 6-2 deficit in Game Two and pulled off a remarkable shutout in Game Three. This win gives the Padres their first postseason series victory in 22 years and ends their postseason misery against the Cardinals.
San Diego’s Bullpen up To the Task
With short starts from Chris Paddack and Zach Davies and the absence of starters Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet, San Diego had to rely on their bullpen to carry them through. As a matter of fact, the Padres only got six–yes, SIX!–innings from their starting rotation in the entire series. When it was all said and done, they had used 26 pitchers to cover 27 innings.
In Game Three, the Padres became the first team in playoff history to use nine pitchers in a shutout. Veteran reliever Craig Stammen was called upon to make his first start in 10 years, 20-year-old Luis Patino pitched a scoreless inning, and veteran closer Trevor Rosenthal retired the side in the ninth to complete the shutout.
“What those guys did this series and tonight, wow,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “They’ve been overworked; they’ve been overtaxed. Man to man, everybody came up and said, ‘I’m good, give me the ball. I’m good, give me the ball.’ Tonight, for me, was as team-oriented as so many guys contributed again. That’s who we are. That’s why we’re going to continue to keep playing.”
“It’s probably one of the best performances from a bullpen I’ve ever seen,’’ said Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer. “It was incredible.’’
Padres Offense Does Enough
In Game Two, San Diego held off elimination by clubbing five home runs and scoring 11 runs on 15 hits. The Padres offense wasn’t nearly as lethal in Game Three, but they did enough to get the job done. Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty stymied the Padres early on, but a double in the fifth inning from Hosmer gave San Diego a 1-0 lead. They added on with two runs in the seventh — thanks to a couple of fielding errors from the St. Louis infield. In the bottom of the eighth, second baseman Jake Cronenworth deposited a 97 mph sinker from Cardinals reliever Alex Reyes over the center-field wall to make the game 4-0.
Disappointing End for St. Louis
This loss marks a disappointing end on a season that was packed with adversity for St. Louis. However, it should be counted as a success that the team was even able to put themselves in a position to win a playoff series. A coronavirus outbreak halted their season for 17 days in August. As a result, they were forced to play 11 doubleheaders and 53 games in 44 days.
Despite the loss, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina expressed his satisfaction with the way his team consistently battled throughout the season:
“It was a really, really tough season for us. Really, really tough season. But we battle. I’m so proud of these guys, this group. We battled so hard. Every day we came ready to play. No matter who we’re facing. I’m proud. Obviously, we want to advance. It is what it is, but we work hard and we fought. We fought hard.”
San Diego will face off against their division rival Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers possess the league’s best record and are coming off a sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card Series. Nevertheless, the Padres remain confident in how they stack up against Los Angeles.
“We stack up great,’’ said Hosmer. “We know we need to get through these guys to get to where we want to be, and that’s a world champion.
The best-of-five series will start on Tuesday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
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