With ten wins in 11 games the Padres haven’t shown many weaknesses the last two weeks, but managers like Jayce Tingler always see room for improvement. He listed a few areas his team could tighten up their play before Wednesday’s game against the Brewers.
That list included their play defensively.
“I think we can be a little bit better defensively on some of our routine plays,” Tingler said. “We can do a better job of backing up one another.”
The Padres answered with their best defensive performance of the season in their 2-1 win over the Brewers.
Neither team generated much offensively. The deciding run came in the tenth inning when Victor Caratini lined a single to right, scoring Wil Myers – who began the inning on second base.
Former Padres pitcher Eric Lauer hit his first career home run off of former teammate Chris Paddack. Lauer sent a fly ball to deep left-center field. Tommy Pham and Jorge Mateo leapt at the fence, but both came up empty-handed.
The solo blast evened the game at 1-1.
It was a rare blemish in an otherwise strong outing for Paddack, and a game full of impressive defensive plays from the Padres.
Paddack went six innings of one-run ball for a second straight start. After needing 91 pitches to do so Friday against the Mariners, Paddack had one of the most efficient performances of his career. The third-year righty needed just 68 pitches to get through six frames. Paddack allowed two hits, and no walks with a pair of strikeouts.
Lauer was stingy as well, striking out six with one run on four hits and one walk.
A.J. Preller sent the lefty to Milwaukee along with infielder Luis Urias, in exchange for pitcher Zach Davies and center fielder Trent Grisham. After a strong 2020 season Davies was a key part of the package that landed Yu Darvish from the Cubs.
Paddack benefitted from fine efforts defensively from the Padres. With a man on second in the second inning Jake Cronenworth made a leaping grab to snag a liner from Willy Adames and end the threat.
In the bottom of the sixth Urias sent a fly ball down the left field line. Pham hauled it in mid-air, as his momentum took him into the wall located a few feet into foul territory.
The game would not have reached extra innings if not for Jurickson Profar, who made a diving catch with two outs and two on in the ninth inning.
The Padres scored the first run of the game in the first inning when Fernando Tatis Jr. supplied a sacrifice fly, scoring Pham. The veteran outfielder, who hit just .179 with a .503 OPS in April, scored just four runs in the opening month of the season. Pham has touched home 13 times in May, doing so in six straight games.