Greg Maddux – The Professor – drew a heavy crowd of minor league pitchers behind the dish. Close to the action, these prospects soaked up his entire outing on a beautiful day on the back fields.
Maddux allowed the first hitter to reach base via a single before getting a double play grounder. A rare walk, however, would turn into the only run against.
Seattle tested his move to home and Josh Bard’s arm when they quickly stole second base. A solid base hit followed to score the run from second. After a second bag stolen, Maddux got the final out of the inning via strikeout, using a nasty changeup that had the hitter looking foolish.
From there, Maddux cruised through the rest of his outing. He retired the next seven hitters, including a seven-pitch third, before a bunt base hit broke his streak. He would allow one more single over the next inning and two-thirds before hitting the showers.
Maddux tossed 73 pitches and struck out four, giving up four singles. He was efficient as usual and did not top 86 MPH with any pitch.
Bard batted in each of the first six innings. He singled in his first at-bat and would go hitless until the sixth. He struck out twice and hit into a double play before clubbing a double – batting right-handed for the first time on the day – and Josh Howard, running in place of Bard, would score a pivotal run.
Adrian Gonzalez did not have much luck at the dish. He lined out hard and grounded out twice. The Padres first baseman swung and missed wildly at a pitch or two and had a tough time adjusted to the pitches he was seeing.
Kevin Kouzmanoff singled and scored in his first at-bat, struck out in his second go, and ripped a line drive double down the left field line in his final at-bat. He would come around to score again after that hit.
While no minor league hitter recorded an extra base hit, they did supply the lumber in crucial situations.
Sean Kazmar and Chad Huffman each contributed a pair of singles. Kazmar had an RBI knock and Huffman added an RBI and a run scored. The rest of the lineup, however, had just two hits.
Seth Johnston had an RBI single against a drawn in infield to provide the margin of victory and Craig Cooper also added an RBI single.
With so many Padres players in the lineup and so much work to be done, the game went into the top of the 10th by design. While the Friars had a 4-3 win hammered out before the bottom of the ninth was played, they worked the extra frame to get at-bats and their pitchers more work.
Five different pitchers worked an inning apiece.
Mike Johnston – who missed all of last year after surgery – threw 24 pitches and surrendered the final two runs in the sixth. He walked one and allowed a single before a ringing double brought both runners around to score.
Mike Adams – who also missed the whole 2007 season due to injury – needed 17 pitches to get through his inning. After walking the initial batter, Adams got two groundouts and a pop out. While no guns are present at minor league camp, Adams’ fastball sat in low-90s and had late pop. He threw between 92-94 MPH before the surgery and may have even more now. He was not able to control his splitter, and he was also not able to command his slider as he hoped.
“I am trying to get back in check with my breaking balls and getting a feel for those again,” Adams said. “I had a split-change – it is getting release point on that.”
Jon Ellis worked through the eighth inning on four pitches. While an error opened the inning and put a runner on first base, he induced a fly out and double play over the next three pitches to end the frame and pick up a hold.
Mauro Zarate saw one of his first pitches sailed deep to right centerfield. An error allowed the runners to reach third, putting the right-hander in a deep hole. A line out that nearly took off Zarate’s head prevented the run from scoring and he followed that up with a strikeout and ground out to strand the runner at the hot corner. It took just nine pitches for all that to happen and gave him the save.
The 10th inning went to Paul Abraham. The right-hander – who came back from China two days ago – was not crisp. He walked the first three batters he faced to load the bases. After a fly out that produced a run, he notched a strikeout. The final batter, however, drew a fourth walk before the inning was rolled with 31 pitches in the books.
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