The San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays didn't have a double-header scheduled for Friday at Petco Park. They played one anyway. Jesus Guzman ended it in the bottom of the 17th inning with a single up the middle, scoring Jedd Gyorko and sending what was left of the 24,219 fans in attendance home happy with a 4-3 win.
"You work so hard in a lot of ways … to win it, is a great win," Padres manager Bud Black said. "That was a big hit for Guzie."
It was the second extra-inning victory for the Friars in four days, and clinched a winning record for the month of May at 15-13. At 25-29 overall and five games back in the NL West, they are miles (or kilometers, for you Canadians) ahead of where they were last season at this time: 17-35, 15.5 games back.
Guzman's hit was one of the few offensive highlights for the Padres all night–and morning. They managed only nine hits in 17 innings, went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and stranded nine base runners.
All three of the Padres' runs before the 17th inning scored on one play in the fifth-inning. Jedd Gyorko doubled to the gap to drive home two, and ended up scoring when the throw to third skipped down the left-field line.
The real hero in this one was the bullpen. Padres' starter Jason Marquis pitched into the sixth-inning and gave up three runs on two long balls–Colby Rasmus' ninth, and Edwin Encarnacion's 15th, a prodigious blast into the second-deck that all but knocked a few bricks out of the wall.
After that, though, it was lights out for the Blue Jays. Seven San Diego "relievers" combined to shut out the Jays for the remaining 11 2/3 innings, giving up just five hits, issuing no walks, and striking out 10.
But it was starter Clayton Richard who provided the most pleasant surprise. Pressed into service because the Padres were out of pitchers, Richard notched his first win of the season by tossing two flawless innings, the 16th and 17th, and laid down the sacrifice-bunt that preceded Guzman's game-winner.
He was scheduled to start Saturday's game against Toronto's Mark Buehrle, but that honor will now go to rookie Robbie Erlin, who made his Major-League debut on April 30 against the Chicago Cubs and has a 9.00 ERA in two innings this season. Game time is 7:10 PST–with no expected ending time.
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