One of the fears a major league manager has when his team visits paradise in the U.S., the city of San Diego, is that his players might be distracted.
They might slip away for a day of deep sea fishing or a round of golf in La Jolla or a trip with family and friends to the San Diego Zoo.
That wasn’t the case Friday night for the Cincinnati Reds, even though they might have spent their off day Thursday doing one or two of the above excursions.
Even though the San Diego Padres are in last place in the National League West, the Padres were 15-and-13 in May and were on a three-game winning streak.
The Reds and young pitcher Tyler Mahle put it to the Padres Friday night in Petco Park, 7-2.
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Mahle, coming off three less-than-stellar starts, survived some early problems to pitch five shutout innings.
He gave up a leadoff single in the first inning to Travis Jankowski, but Eric Hosmer quickly hit into a double play.
He gave up hits to two of the first three batters in the second. He struck out Raffy Lopez then was saved by an unusual but spectacular catch by right fielder Scott Schebler. Freddy Galvis lined one hard and Schebler did a couple of ballerina pirouettes before sticking up his glove to snag the third out. It probably saved two runs and a 2-0 Pades lead.
Mahle went to 3-and-2 counts to the first three batters in the third, but walked only one and pitched out of it. But his pitch count mounted.
He pitched a 1-2-3 fourth, then gave up a one-out walk and a single in the fifth before pitching out of that minor problem.
Manager Jim Riggleman permitted Mahle to go to the mound for the sixth, although his pitch count was closing in on 100. When Jose Pirella opened with a single, Mahle was taken down. Michael Lorenzen and came in threw 12 straight strikes to get three straight outs.
Mahle lifted his record to 4-and-6 with his five shutout innings, giving up five hits, two walks and he struck out five during his 102-pitch night.
The Padres, strapped for pitching, call up Walker Lockett from Triple-A El Paso to make his major league debut. It was not memorable.
He was as wild as the wild, wild west. In 3 2/3 innings he gave up five walks and four hits. Three of the five walks came around to score and when he left the Padres were down, 4-0.
Lockett held the Reds scoreless for two innings then committed the one sin a pitcher facing the Reds should never do — he walked Billy Hamilton to open the third. Hamilton stole second, took third on a ground ball and scored on Tucker Barnhart’s ground out. The Reds had a 1-0 lead without getting a hit in the third.
He did it again in the fourth, walking Eugenio Suare to start the inning. Scott Schebler singled and Jose Peraza doubled home both runners. With two outs he walked Jesse Winker and Tucker Barnhart singled home another run to make it 4-0.
Scooter Gennett, who had a May that could earn him National League Player of the Month, started off June the same way he finished May. He crushed his 11th home run to lead off the fifth inning and he was in the middle of a two-run seventh with a walk.
The Reds made the most of only eight hits, aided by seven walks by Padres pitchers and a couple of errors by right fielder Hunter Renfroe.
The only Cincinnati hitter with more than one hit was Peraza, who had three hits and drove in three.
Lorenzen retired 11 straight, throwing 34 strikes and only four balls, before Hunter Renfroe doubled with two outs in the ninth and Raff Lopez walked.
Then, mayhem. Freddy Galvis drove one to deep center on a 0-and-2 count. The balll bounced off center fielder Billy Hamilton’s glove as the crashed into the wall with hi left side. He went down and stayed down as two runs scored.
Hamilton stayed in the game, after a long consultation with manager Jim Riggleman and the medical staff, and Lorenzen finally got the final out to end it.
Despite the two-out ninth-inning Padres uprising, the Reds bullpen continues to excel and the Reds are 18-and-1 when they lead after seven innings.