How Not to Bury a Pirate

It’s amazing the sense of entitlement one acquires when one’s team succeeds beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful — after all, the Padres did beat the Pirates on Wednesday — but whatever happened to playing a full nine innings?

In case you missed it, the Padres held a 6-0 lead headed into the seventh. That inning, Kevin Correia retired the first batter he faced; then this happened:

J Tabata singled to left center.
N Walker singled to center, J Tabata to second.
G Jones singled to left, J Tabata to third, N Walker to second.
P Alvarez walked, J Tabata scored, N Walker to third, G Jones to second.

The Alvarez walk, incidentally, came after Correia had jumped ahead in the count, 0-2. I recognize that Alvarez is a dangerous hitter, but with a seven-run lead, you need to be in attack mode.

Ernesto Frieri replaced Correia, and although Frieri escaped the jam, he also allowed all of his inherited runners to score. Don’t get me wrong, a three-run lead after seven is still nice, but you can’t be giving the opposition hope right there. Before that inning, the Pirates had none… from that point forward, they played like they thought they could come back and win; what’s worse, they almost did.

Am I done complaining? Dude, I haven’t even gotten started.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Padres had runners at first and second with one out. They then executed a double steal, with Will Venable swiping third and Chris Denorfia taking second.

Okay, that’s more like it.

Then pinch-hitter Scott Hairston and Everth Cabrera (who had replaced Jerry Hairston Jr. at second base in the top half) struck out looking. Neither so much as moved his bat. Actually, Hairston went around on a check swing for strike two, but that’s it. At least he had the decency to throw his helmet when he returned to the dugout. Not that it helped, but I appreciated the gesture.

As an aside, Jerry Hairston Jr. earlier homered off ex-Padre Chan Ho Park. In fact, several former Padres pitchers have helped their old team this series:

                IP H R ER HR BB K
Wil Ledezma    1.0 1 1  1  1  0 3
Sean Gallagher 0.1 0 0  0  0  2 1
Chan Ho Park   1.0 4 3  3  1  0 1
Evan Meek      1.0 1 1  1  0  1 0

Anyway, back to my vitriolic rant… In the eighth, with two out, Jose Tabata hit a lazy fly ball to right. Ryan Ludwick drifted toward the line for the routine play… and had the ball clank off the heel of his glove. After a passed ball (Mike Adams threw a slider for a strike, but Yorvit Torrealba was looking fastball) sent Tabata to third, Neil Walker singled to make the score 7-5. That brought up Garrett Jones, the Pirates’ top home-run hitter, representing the tying run.

Hello, what happened? This was, like, a blowout and stuff.

No worries. Adams struck out Jones to end the threat. Still…

On the bright side, the Padres got that run back in the bottom half thanks to a great slide by Miguel Tejada, who managed to elude the tag of catcher Chris Snyder on a ground ball to second off the bat of Chase Headley. The fact that Walker’s throw home was a little high helped, but Tejada got a terrific jump with the infield in and pulled the ol’ “slap your hand on the plate as you’re sliding behind the catcher” move on Snyder.

Then, with runners at the corners and one out, Torrealba worked the count in his favor, 2-1. He promptly rapped into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. As with Hairston an inning earlier, though, he flung his helmet in disgust… so there was that.

The ninth, I am happy to report, was uneventful. Heath Bell retired the side in order. About the only excitement came when Bud Black realigned his entire outfield at the start of the inning (Venable moved from left to right, Denorfia from center to left, and Tony Gwynn Jr. took over in center, replacing Ludwick).

So, yeah, I’m a little grouchy. But mostly I’m happy the Padres beat the Pirates and won the series. A sweep would be nice… it’s that whole sense of entitlement thing again. And go Cubs.