The Angels took the opener of the 3 game set against the Padres behind an effective Andrew Heaney and a left fielder who was not here to play today. The game would go through ten full innings, but fall well short of 3 hours as both Heandog and Clayton Richard induced fieldable contact after fieldable contact and defenders accrued web gem after web gem. Padres defenders in particular would make numerous plays that made you just want to scream into a pillow. Both pitchers would go into the 8th inning and allow 2 runs, and the pitcher’s duel would be the story of the day if not for both a defensive gem and defensive gaffe.
The set-up: Andrew Heaney got totally BABIP’d in the bottom of the 8th while clinging to a 2-1 lead, thanks to a Jose Briceno home run and EYJ scoring on a wild pitch. Two consecutive singles on weakly hit balls would have a man on first and third with no outs as Eric Hosmer stepped to the plate. Heaney would fall behind 3-0 to the notorious Angel killer before a 92 MPH sinker on the outer half of the plate that Hosmer would smash the other way. Then this happened.
The runner at third would score on the robbery, but the momentum had shifted. It was only a matter of time before the Angels would win this game.
And in the tenth, they would capitalize when Craig Stammen came in to replace Kirby Yates, who continued his dominant season by throwing up a zero that nearly wasn’t in the 9th. Two pitches and a replay review later, there was a man on first with one out. EYJ would steal, Ohtani would walk, and then Kole Calhoun would come this freaking close to doubling down the line to drive in the two of them.
And then a funny thing happened. The San Diego Padres remembered that they are the San Diego Padres. Calhoun sent a deep fly to right center field that Margot and Renfroe would miscommunicate on and let fall right in between, bouncing over the wall for a go-ahead RBI automatic double. David Fletcher then perfectly executed to score Ohtani. And Justin Upton, not wanting his heroics today to be outdone, then launched a no-doubter to left to put the game safely out of reach.
An Eric Hosmer solo shot in the bottom of the frame meant nothing. As Upton probably remembers well from his time with the ballclub, the Padres will often padre. With a little help from his glove, this was one such night.