Padres MLN: Taking the fifth

Peoria, AZ – The Seattle Mariners dished out six runs over the first two innings, but a productive third inning and an eight-hit, five-run fifth kept the High-A Padres in the contest, and the home team held its own in a 9-9 tie.

Starter Wade LeBlanc lasted only one inning, yielding two runs (one earned) on two hits and a fielding error. Steve Delabar fared worse, surrendering a home-run and a single on the first two pitches of his appearance en route to a four run Mariners' second.

Delabar threw first-pitch strikes, but the Mariners were well prepared. Jairo Hernandez crushed Delabar's first pitch fastball to left field for a solo home-run before two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Edilio Colina, who laced a triple into left-center to clear the bases.

In his following two innings, Delabar reverted to a solid changeup and slider, whiffing two and inducing two ground balls on aptly placed changeups that followed fastballs, catching Mariners' bats well ahead.

Padres' pitching kept the Mariners quiet following the big second inning. In late relief, Ryan Klatt featured a formidable slider that caught two Mariners chasing pitches near the dirt, and John Madden followed his footsteps, striking out two more on off-speed pitches in the top of the ninth.

The Padres presented a well-balanced offense; all but one starter came home to score a run, and no Padre scored more than once. Kyle Blanks was most impressive on offense. After patiently accepting a four-pitch walk in his first appearance, Blanks' RBI single brought David Freese home for the second run in the Padres' third. But it was Blanks' triple in the fifth inning – which earned him two RBIs and later a run scored – that brought the Padres back into a game that for a moment seemed like Mariners' batting practice.

Mike Sansoe warrants mention for a perfectly executed hit-and-run that allowed Yordany Ramirez to reach third before scoring on a sacrifice by Mike Baxter. Ramirez also had two RBIs on a fifth-inning triple that gave the Padres a three-run advantage – though not enough of a buffer to secure a victory.

-Brad Honigman

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