The 11 game losing streak for the San Diego Padres versus the Arizona Diamondbacks is finally over. Last night, the Padres beat the Diamondbacks 12-3. It was their first victory at Chase Field in over two years.
“We swung the bats well all day,” manager Jayce Tingler said. “We hit some balls hard the first, second, third inning and didn’t have any luck. In the fifth, that’s probably as good of an inning of squaring the ball up as we’ve had this year.”
Padres Beat Diamondbacks with Lively Offense
The bats may have found life last night, but the opposite was true on Tuesday night. The lackluster offense contributed heavily to the Padres’ first loss in Arizona. They went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, which was the second time they had gone hitless this season (their first was against the Milwaukee Brewers).
Untimely hitting has been the thorn in San Diego’s side so far this season. Heading into last night’s game, their .205 batting average with runners in scoring position was fourth lowest in the majors.
Last night, they turned things around. The Padres had several hard hit balls (all hit at 99.7mph or harder) that never found the open field through the first four innings of play. Then, the flood gates opened in the fifth. The Padres drove in six runs off of seven hits before recording an out, making it 6-2. It was the first time a Padres team began an inning with seven straight hits and no outs since April 29, 2010.
It was noticeable how aggressive they were at the plate compared to previous games. One significant element of the Padres’ offensive approach over the years has been selective hitting, drawing walks and driving up the pitch count. Last night, they pounced on pitches early in the count and did not draw their first walk until late in the fifth inning.
Jake Cronenworth and Jorge Mateo would each go on to hit their first home runs of the 2021 campaign in the innings that followed. They both came off the bench at different points in the game to add to the Padres’ gaping lead.
San Diego’s 12 runs scored last night is the most they’ve scored in a game so far this season.
San Diego Shows Signs of Maturity
In no way, was this two-game stint in the desert, remotely comparable to the Los Angeles Dodgers saga. Although, it showed resemblance to a new wave San Diego is riding.
Last year was the year of the Slam Diego. The Padres relied on their sluggers Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. to smash balls into the seats whenever runners were in scoring position. It was a recipe that worked for them––they found success through powerful hitting.
This year, they are 4-for-27 with the bases loaded and second worst in the league with stranding runners on base. However, there are moments that indicate evolution. Moments like the comeback win over the Dodgers and tonight’s string of singles in the fifth illustrate how the Padres are maturing as an offensively sound team. They now find other ways to score runs such as by hitting out an infield single, stealing a base or two, or roping a single to bring the runner home. San Diego no longer depends on the grand slam to win ball games (although one every now and then would be nice).
Of course, the series against the Dodgers proved to be as entertaining as baseball can get. Yet the Padres are in a division race against three other National League West teams. They can’t afford to have flat offensive production against teams they should otherwise overpower. Their win on Wednesday showed that San Diego can resort to small ball, and ultimately, win big games.
“It was like, ‘There it is,’” Tingler said after the victory. “We’ve known it’s in there. These guys have been busting their butts working. If they’re guilty of anything, it’s pressing and trying too hard. … To finally get some consecutive hits and string some really good at-bats together, it was exciting to see.”
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Manager Mentioned: Jayce Tingler