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Game 2 of 162 – Back in Swing, Just as Advertised 

4 runs in the 9th inning? More of that, please!

Last night’s rain-delayed game ended with a Padres victory after a well-played 3 hour and 31 minute contest at Chavez Ravine. While the game started out as another gridlocked pitcher’s duel between two very capable gunslingers, the game turned in the end with a couple of new Friars stepping up to the plate in a big way. Fans that stayed up past their bedtimes were treated with an offensive explosion that had been waiting in the rafters for the new-face San Diego Padres, and it’s always a relief knowing that you no longer need to wait and pray for that first win of the season.

So who were the top performers of the night? And who fell short of rising to the occasion? In my humble opinion, I offer to you yesterday’s three-up and three-down:

Three Up (Why do I only have to choose three? There was so much that went right last night!)

  1. Tyson “Big Boss” Ross’ Stellar Start –Tyson Ross must have a love-hate relationship with the Los Angeles Dodgers. While Ross seems to perform well against our Northern Rival, he hardly ever gets any run support. In fact, he NEVER gets any run support. Despite posting a 2.67 ERA against the Dodgers over 4 contests and 27.0 IP last season, Ross went 0-4 with the Padres scoring no more than 2-runs each time. Last night was more of the same, but Ross was stellar nonetheless. Ross gave up 2 ER with 4 strikeouts and 6 hits over 6.0 IP. While this earned him a “quality start” (for whatever that statistic is worth), the best part of Ross’ night came when he was faced with a huge mess. In the 6th inning, Ross gave up a Double-Double-Single that promptly scored the Dodgers 2-runs and changed the makeup of the game. With the potential for more damage behind him, Ross took the inning with 0 outs and with the help of his defense, stopped the bleeding and kept the team in the game. Ross showed some moxy and big-league pitching last night, and he certainly was a bright spot last night despite the no-decision.
  2. Yonder Holds his own Hit Parade – Yonder Alonso had a terrible 2014 season. It was forgettable and plainly awful. 2015, however, could be a redeeming year for the #SkinnyCuban. Alonso went 3-for-5 last night with 1 RBI and he also scored the tying run in the 7th. Alonso also came up in a big way in the 8th inning by hitting a short-lived go-ahead RBI single. Indeed, any night where you get three hits is a big game – especially for Yonder. Way to be, #23!
  3. Derek Norris Again, Duh – Norris was in my “Three-up” for Monday afternoon’s game, and here he is again for his hustle in Tuesday night’s contest. Norris went 2-for-5, improving to a .444 batting average on the young season, with 2 RBI and his second double of the season in the 9th. It was Norris’ 2-run Double that broke open the game for the Padres and helped secure the team’s first win of the season. On top of all that, Norris also threw out Howie Kendrick trying to steal third last night, so it’s clear that Norris has things covered behind the dish while producing at the plate as well.

Three Down (Again, not-so-good things. Are you getting the formula here?)

  1. Jedd Gyorko Goes 0-for-5 – I will vouch for Jedd here by noting that it is only the second game of the season, so we can give the kid a break for his performance thus far. But any night where you go hitless in 5 opportunities at the plate is rough. Jedd’s batting average falls to .143 on the young (emphasis on YOUNG) season. He’ll get in to the groove soon enough, I’m sure.
  2. Joaquin Benoit was the Winning Pitcher of Record, But… – He also got his first Blown Save of the year. Benoit, who was quoted as saying that he thought he would be the closing pitcher for the team this year before Preller acquired Kimbrel, was placed in the game to hold on to a slim 1-run lead for the Padres. Adrian Gonzalez erased that short-term lead with a solo-shot in the 8th inning for his second homerun of the year. Benoit showed issues near the end of last season with keeping the ball in the yard, but fortunately no other damage came from his outing. So Benoit got the “W” on the stat sheet, yes, but he also got some “BS” to go with it.
  3. The Dodgers Defense – I could sit here and talk about how newcomers Wil Myers and Will Middlebrooks finally collected their first Padres hits on the season, but that would seem unnecessary given it’s only the second game of the season. Sure, Will and Wil have a .111 and .125 batting average (respectively), but they also each collected an RBI last night. So instead of blasting a slow start from the Will’s (Good ”Will” hunting?), I will instead place my last “down” on the Dodgers Defense. With 3 errors on the night, the Dodgers fielding didn’t look nearly as sharp as it did yesterday. Certainly, I’m not complaining. It’s nice to see the Padres capitalize on mistakes – they should do this more often! But watching Jimmy Rollins commit a couple errors and watch Yasmani Grandal throw the ball away is something I could get used to seeing.

The Padres and Dodgers face off tonight in the series rubber-match at 7:10pm with the Big Texan Andrew Cashner taking on the Dodgers #3 pitcher Brandon McCarthy. While there doesn’t appear to be any more rain in the forecast, let’s hope the Padres can bring a downpour of more offense tonight.

Here’s hoping for a Padres series victory tonight. Cheers, and #BeatLA!

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About the author: Ian Edward Russell Smith

Ian is a former writer for the San Diego Padres, having worked as the Padres' "In-Season Blogger" during the 2015 season. Ian wrote as a member of the Friarhood's writing staff between parts of 2013-2015, writing over 100 articles over that span. In addition to being a writer, Ian is also a recent graduate of California Western School of Law in San Diego, having earned a Juris Doctor, as well as his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Law & Society from the University of California, Riverside. Be sure to follow Ian on Twitter (@SDRedBull8) to see what other ramblings he's posted about the Padres, San Diego, and baseball in general!