Man of Steel, eat your heart out. Will Venable's diving, over-the-head grab in the 12th inning saved the day, and the San Diego Padres cashed in on the 13th, riding the wave of momentum to their seventh straight victory, 5-3, over the San Francisco Giants Monday night at AT&T Park.
"It was one of the best catches I've seen to save a game. It's as simple as that. It's a game-saving catch," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy."
It was the 500th win of Padre manager Bud Black's career, and the first win of the season for reliever Nick Vincent, who hurled a flawless two innings, the 11th and 12th.
As Chase Headley put it, it "was a great team win" for the Friars, who found a way to win despite only scoring five runs on 18 hits, going a horrendous 4-for-22 with RISP, and stranding 17 runners.
Chris Denorfia, Logan Forsythe, and newly-acquired shortstop Pedro Ciriaco all smacked three hits, and Huston Street notched his 14th save, but this one boiled down to three keys:
- Stellar relief pitching. Six relievers worked eight scoreless innings, giving up just four hits and walking none.
- "Superman's" catch. Venable's amazing grab off the bat of Juan Perez not only came in the 12th inning, it prevented the winning run from scoring.
- Pinch-hitter extraordinaire. As in Andrew Cashner, the pitcher who was sent up to bat out of desperation in the 13th-inning because the Padres were out of bench players. With runners at the corners, Cashner laid down a bunt that was, well… right on the money. No one could make a play on the mischievous roller. How many teams can brag about winning a game on a pinch-hit bunt from a pitcher?
The win catapults San Diego past the Giants and into third-place in the West, a half-game behind Colorado and one game back of the Arizona Diamondbacks. With first-place within sniffing distance, one of Monday's heroes has a chance to do it again on Tuesday.
Cashner gets the start in the middle game of the series. At 5-3, 3.52, he is opposed by Giants' ace Matt Cain, who is 5-3, 4.70. Cain is 7-11, 3.17 in the last 10 years versus the Padres. Game time is 7:15 PST.