Melvin Upton Jr.’s walk-off two-run home run in the 14th inning Saturday night sealed a 5-3 win for the Padres, giving San Diego its first win at Petco Park this season and ending its four-game losing streak.
It was a thriller in extras. Taking a grand total of five hours and 25 minutes to complete, the Padres had multiple opportunities in the 12th and 13th innings to win the game but couldn’t push a run across.
It had the makings of another heartbreaker, but Upton’s shot to center field saved the game for the Padres, providing something with which the team can build off of after struggling early this season.
It was a total team effort. Twenty-two of the Padres’ 25 players played in Saturday night’s game.
San Diego had a great opportunity to take advantage of Arizona’s bullpen early in the game.
The Diamondbacks other big offseason acquisition to the starting rotation, Shelby Miller, didn’t fair nearly as well as Zack Greinke did Friday night. Miller lasted just 1 2/3 innings after injuring a finger on his right hand.
Before Miller exited, Upton Jr. got the Padres rally going in the second inning. He singled on a soft liner to centerfield and later stole second base. Alexei Ramirez battled for a two-out single to center field on a 3-2 count to score Upton Jr., and made it to third base on a fielding error by center fielder Socrates Brito.
Miller walked the next three batters, including Jon Jay with the bases loaded, which allowed Ramirez to score, giving the Padres a 2-0 lead.
Matt Kemp added to the Padres early lead in the bottom of the third when he hammered a solo home run to left field.
The home run was the Padres first at Petco Park this season, and was also Kemp’s first dinger and RBI since he homered twice and knocked in six runs against the Rockies last Saturday.
Andrew Cashner threw his best game of the season. He struck out five over six innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks.
The only trouble Cashner faced came in the fifth inning when he allowed back-to-back hits, a single to Yasmany Tomas and double to Brandon Drury. Tomas would score when Jean Segura hit a grounder to second baseman Alexi Amarista who elected to take the out at first base.
Cashner stranded Drury at third base after striking out Socrates Brito.
Like the previous four games for the Padres, they couldn’t take advantage of another quality start by the starting pitching.
And for the second night in a row, San Diego squandered a late lead. Kevin Quackenbush allowed an unearned run in the 7th and Brandon Maurer an earned run on a wild pitch in the 8th that tied game at three.
Robbie Erlin takes the hill Sunday for the Padres as they try for their first series win at Petco Park.
–Andrew Burer (TWITTER: @andrewburer)