Peoria, AZ: The Padres Triple-A team defeated the Kansas City Royals Triple-A team 7-4 before a crowd of coaches, pitchers killing time and a lowly scribe.
Left-hander Cesar Ramos had a brutal first inning, giving up two singles, a walk, sacrifice fly and a double to the first five batters before getting out of the inning; albeit with some luck since one of the outs was a lined shot to the left fielder.
Ramos settled down the next two innings, retiring the side before giving up a home run in the fourth in a stretched out session that saw him throw 61 pitches. He still has problems with elevating his four-seam fastball. He was charged with four runs.
Center fielder Cedric Hunter also started off the game slow, missing cut-off men twice in the first inning but settled in as the game went on. Hunter hit an impressive two-run home run over the right field wall and made a nice play on a sinking line drive in the fourth inning – diving in to catch a liner. Hunter seems to be a little stronger this year and is showing a little more patience at the plate.
"It felt really good," Hunter said. "I just need to keep it right there and I will be fine."
Padres' super utility man Scott Hairston continued his tour of the minors going 4-for-4 with a walk and a double before cheering team mates Luke Gregerson and Heath Bell. Hairston doubled and had three singles, including an infield hit. He also scored three runs.
Bell also held court between innings on everything from life in the minors to his opinions on the death penalty. A very approachable and fun guy who seriously loves the game.
The Padres are putting an increasing emphasis on being aggressive on the base paths both in the majors and in the minors. In this game Sean Kazmar and Kellen Kulbacki pulled of an impressive double steal which resulted in Kulbacki scoring and Kazmar advancing to third on the overthrow. Kulbacki had an infield single and an RBI.
Although Kazmar has always struggled with being consistent at the plate, his defense remains stellar, as he robbed the Royals of a base hit up the middle to begin an impressive double play to end the sixth inning. Kazmar had an infield single and an RBI groundout.
Left-hander Aaron Poreda pitched an inning of relief and instantly brought many of the Padres brass, including Randy Smith and Randy Johnson, to the field to watch pitch. Poreda tossed first pitch strikes on all the batters he faced – needing 11 pitches to accomplish his task. He used his slider and fastball and was able to spot up his pitches with accuracy. He did allow one hit but picked that runner off first base.
Johnson later stated that the Padres plan to start Poreda in the pen in Portland to begin the year, but it could change depending on personnel.
Nathan Culp was his usual bulldog self. He worked around a broken bat single in his first inning, two singles in his second frame, and an infield single and an error in his third inning – producing scoreless ball while tossing 45 pitches. His curveball was extremely sharp and his fastball command was spot on.
Radhames Liz was dominant in the ninth. Needing 12 pitching, he fanned two and got a soft liner to the outfield. Liz used mostly fastball and moved it around to both sides of the dish.
Chad Huffman had the first RBi of the game for the Triple-A squad, doubling in Hairston. Craig Stansberry added an RBI single but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Stansberry also had an error in the field.
Mike Baxter, Anthony Contreras, Josh Barfield, Sawyer Caroll, Eric Munson and Michael Collins went hitless – the later three drawing walks. Carroll also stole a base and scored a run.
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