Spring Training Notebook IV

Eric Munson

Peoria, AZ: Two come from behind wins from the San Diego Padres Double-A and Triple-A squads highlighted a spirited day of action against the Texas Rangers. The Double-A Squad held a perfect game through six and the Triple-A squad scored five runs in the ninth.

  • The Double-A squad needed runs in the final two frames to overcome a 3-2 deficit. Blake Tekotte got the walkoff winner with a bases loaded sacrifice fly with one out in the bottom of the ninth to break a 3-3 tie. With the infield in and the outfield playing for a line drive to cut off any potential of a single, Tekotte lifted a ball just to the right of center, causing the outfielder to go back on the ball. Throwing off his back foot, Ali Solis, who singled to being the inning, easily trotted home.

    Tekotte went 1-for-4 with a stolen base, a run scored and the RBI. Solis was 1-for-2, coming in as a defensive replacement in the sixth.

    Danny Payne had two RBI, connecting for a run scoring single in the opening frame and tripling in a run in the eighth to knot the game up 3-3. He stole a base and was caught stealing.

    "One of the things they have been preaching to me over the last three years is to be aggressive," Payne said. "They put me in the spot in the lineup (batting third) to force my hand a little bit. If they are going to keep pumping those fastballs, I need to be aggressive to it."

    Brad Chalk had a pair of singles, including a bunt single. He also scored a run and added a stolen base. Adam Zornes doubled and scored on a wild pitch while also striking out.

    Mitch Canham, playing first base for the entire game, had two lasers in each of his first two at-bats but both were hit right at the outfielders. He also grounded out twice. James Darnell pulled off a hat trick, striking out three times. Andy Parrino went 0-for-3 but added a sacrifice bunt. Keoni Ruth went 0-for-3 with a walk and reached on a fielder's choice in the ninth. Beamer Weems was hitless in two at-bats. Kevin Hansen also went hitless. Jesus Lopez struck out and walked. Jeudy Valdez played in both games. He reached on an error in the Double-A contest.

  • The pitching was impressive early on for the Double-A squad. Erik Davis started things off and was dynamite, spotting his fastball at will and mixing his pitches well. He retired all six batters he faced, striking out one and needing just 22 pitches before his day was over.

    Derrick Loop was equally as impressive. He struck out three and retired all six batters he faced, inducing two ground outs in a 22-pitch outing. He had multiple pitches working, including a back door slider that froze one hitter cold.

    "His cutter was filthy," pitcher Chris Wilkes said. "He got one broken bat – I can see a lot more of those coming."

    "My cutter was excellent today," Loop said. " I also threw three changeups that I felt were good and was able to keep the hitters guessing."

    Nick Hall also handled his business in a 22-pitch affair, featuring a fastball he spotted well. The former Independent League pitcher induced three ground ball outs and struck out one, as the Padres Double-A squad held a perfect game going into the seventh.

    "I was only supposed to throw one (inning) and our starter got bumped to do backup duty for the big league game," Hall said. "I got two innings and felt good. It was nice to pitch against someone other than the Padres. I have been working on a split-fingered fastball and got a broken bat on it today. It feels really good."

    Jackson Quezada saw the first man he faced reach on a single to break up the perfect bid. That runner moved to second on a stole base. After a fly out, the runner attempted to steal third, and Quezada spotted him going and tried to throw the ball to third base. The ball sailed high and the runner came home to score the first run against in what was then a 2-1 Padres lead. He would get a fly out and strikeout to end a 12-pitch inning. Quezada is still building up his arm strength but the fastballs were placed well. The secondary pitches weren't nearly as sharp.

    "I got excited and it got away from me," Quezada said. "I need to slow it down some and know I have time to make the throw."

    Colt Hynes was touched up for two runs. After a ground out opened the frame, he hit a batter and surrendered a double to score one. A single brought home the second run. Hynes was a bit up in the zone but settled down after giving up two runs.

    Brad Brach finished the game off, needing 14 pitches in a 3-3 game to keep it tied. Nine of those pitches came to the second batter he faced before a fly out retired that man. He induced early contact by working down in the zone with his splitter and fastball.

  • Nathan Culp had the ball bounce his way in both innings and mixed his pitches well, using a changeup that was filthy during a set of frames that required just 14 pitches. A single opened the outing but the dirt kisser induced a double play grounder to the next hitter. Another ground out followed. The leadoff man in the second inning singled but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Two more ground outs finished his afternoon.

    Aaron Breit was greeted with a single and triple to the first two hitters. Three groundouts ended the frame but two runs had crossed. He also allowed a single in his second frame but was more efficient in handling matters. Still, it was a 40-pitch session for the right-hander. He used his curveball more in the second frame and was able to spot his fastball down.

    Matt Buschmann was tagged for six runs across two innings, giving up two homers in a day he would rather forget. The right-hander has shelved his changeup and is working with the two-seam and slider. The good ones were very good but the bad ones were miserable.

    Mike DeMark gave up a single to open the inning and that runner would come around to score in a 22-pitch inning. He did show an improved changeup that netted a strikeout and is now tossing three pitches with confidence.

    Brian Oland saw a splitter hang and go for a double to the leadoff man. He would find his stroke but a run still crossed. The right-hander looked a bit rusty in his first game action but gained comfort as the inning wore on.

    Evan Scribner could not work around a triple to open the inning. After a walk and a strikeout, a sacrifice fly brought home what would be the 11th Texas run. He would strikeout the final batter on a dirty curveball that he is well known for. His fastball was up in the zone more than normal.

  • The Padres had to fight through an inning that was rolled by Texas with the bases loaded. While they were able to start off the next frame like that, they lost an out in the process.

    Bo Davis, who is not on the higher seeded teams this spring, led off the bottom of the ninth just looking to get on. He took a fastball and drilled it over the center fielders head to straight away center, sliding into third head first for a triple. That would begin a five run rally to net a 13-12 victory. It was his lone at-bat. Cameron Monger, another Low-A roster member, also singled during the rally and scored a run. He struck out in his other at-bat.

    "It was a good feeling," Davis said. "I showed up halfway through the game when we heard they might need some guys. Being at the bottom – me and Monger – we were happy to come over, and I got a good pitch."

    Cedric Hunter capped the rally with a single to right field. He had two hits on the day with a walk, a stolen base and a run scored. Robert Lara, a mid-inning replacement at catcher, drew a bases loaded walk to score a run and added an RBI single. He also scored a run in the ninth.

    Eric Munson hit a monster home run into the right field parking lot – his second homer in as many days. That blast accounted for two runs and was his lone hit of the day. Chad Huffman had doubled in front of Munson. Huffman also notched a single and a bases loaded walk, scoring twice.

    Brett Dowdy came through with a bases loaded single in the ninth to score a pair of runs. He also added another base hit, stole a base and scored twice. Kellen Kulbacki walked and scored and plated a run in the ninth with a single.

    Anthony Contreras collected two RBI with a single and grounded out. Craig Stansberry had an infield hit, a walk and a hopper through the hole between shortstop and third while scoring once. Danny Putnam walked and scored, flying out in his other at-bat. Mike Baxter struck out and ground out before netting a bases loaded walk to add an RBI. His run was the eventual winner.

    Josh Barfield went 0-for-3, striking out twice including once with the bases juiced. Valdez, who played in the Double-A game, struck out with the bases loaded in his lone at-bat.

  • Scott Hairston did nothing with five at-bats, leading off each of the first five frames. He struck out looking in the first and had contact outs in his subsequent four at-bats.
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