Alex Faedo wasn’t quite at his best, but he kept the San Diego Padres off balance enough to avoid their power as the pitching staff put together a complete performance on Sunday. The offense didn’t exactly get loose, but a pair of solo shots held up for a winning margin as they took the third game of the series 3-1, avoiding a sweep.
After yesterday’s pitching debacle, it was up to Faedo to turn things around. The right-hander was really good in his last start for the Mud Hens, but despite their record, the Padres have a pretty tough lineup and he’d need a good outing to get the Tigers in position to avoid the sweep. Brendan White was optioned to Toledo prior to the game to open Faedo’s roster spot.
The right-hander didn’t really have his best stuff in this one, but he kept the Padres from doing damage and his defense did the rest.
Ha-Seong Kim opened the game by drawing a walk, but Faedo got Fernando Tatis Jr. to swing over his slider for a strikeout, and a mix of sliders and changeups to Juan Soto saw him ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the first.
Joe Musgrove looked good early, striking out Zach McKinstry and Riley Greene, but he left a curveball up to Spencer Torkelson and it got crushed into the left field seats as Tork’s 15th long ball of the season. That 25 HR season we were looking for is on course. Despite the frustrations of late, the right players are showing good development this season and that, along with whatever they acquire in trade over the next eight days, will be our consolation prize.
The Padres got a Jake Cronenworth double and no more in the second, while the Tigers grounded out three times. In the third, Faedo issued another leadoff walk, this time to Matt Carpenter. And again, he quickly erased it with another 4-6-3 double play ball, this one from Trent Grisham. Kim reached on a McKinstry error at third, but fortunately a well struck fly ball to center field was hauled in by Vierling.
Andy Ibáñez greeted Musgrove with a solo shot to open the bottom half of the inning. Andy’s seventh of the season made it 2-0. Eric Haase flew out and McKinstry struck out, but Riley Greene lined a single to center and Torkelson walked to set things up for Kerry Carpenter. He came through, pulling a single through the right side of the infield to plate Greene, though it required a really nice slide to avoid the play at the plate. Musgrove froze Vierling with a good curveball to smother the threat at that point, but it was 3-0 Tigers.
Faedo froze Soto with a good slider at the very bottom of the zone for strike three to open the fourth. Manny Machado walked, but Faedo got Xander Bogaerts to ground out and Cronenworth flew out to right to end the inning.
The next six outs came quickly. Faedo was giving up some solid contact, but nothing barreled up, and they weren’t dropping for hits. In the bottom of the fifth, Haase led off with a solid single, but McKinstry grounded into a force of Haase at second, and then was cut down trying to steal second. Greene struck out, and we were on to the sixth.
It was a little surprising to see Faedo come back out to take on the top of the order a third time. There weren’t many whiffs on the day and the contact had gotten louder. Clearly the question was weighing on the minds of Hinch and Chris Fetter. Faedo walked Kim again to start the inning and Fetter came out for a fairly pointed message and Faedo responded by getting Tatis Jr. to roll over into another double play for the Padres, this one swiftly turned by McKinstry at third to Ibáñez at second and on to first. Soto drilled a screamer to right field at that point, but Carpenter was there to retire him.
Pretty good outing from Faedo. Hard to criticize six innings of one hit ball, despite four walks and only two strikeouts. The Tigers needed a good outing, and it was plenty good enough to win with.
The bottom of the sixth started with promise as the team really needed some insurance runs. Torkelson and Carpenter started the half inning with singles, but Vierling lined out to right field, with Tork tagging and taking third, but now it was the Tigers’ turn as Javier Báez grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Beau Brieske took over in the seventh. With one out, Bogearts got a 1-0 slider that hung up in the middle of the plate and doubled to left. Cronenworth flew out, but Gary Sanchez singled the opposite way and Bogaerts scored to make it 3-1 Tigers. Brieske dusted Carpenter for the final out of the inning.
Steven Wilson took over for Musgrove in the bottom of the seventh and retired Baddoo and Haase on fly balls, striking out Ibáñez to end the inning.
Jason Foley took over in the eighth as McKinstry moved to right field in place of Carpenter, and Zack Short took over at third. Foley needed 12 pitches to collect three outs, but the ninth would begin with Soto/Machado, and so thoughts turned to whether Foley might go two innings or whether Hinch would put Lange in to close the ninth. An insurance run or two would be nice.
They didn’t get it. A one-out single from Riley Greene led nowhere, and Hinch indeed put his faith in Lange to get the job done. And we got good Alex Lange.
He started Soto with a fastball away and he grounded out to Báez. Machado took a well located fastball and then a curveball, and swung over another curve 0-2 to strike out. Lange fell behind Bogaerts 3-0 and walked him, bringing Cronenworth to the dish as the potential tying run.
A curve and a changeup down and away made it 0-2, but Lange bounced a curveball and another one down and away from the left-handed hitting first baseman was soft served to Báez, who couldn’t make the play. A first pitch curve to Gary Sanchez went wild, moving Cronenworth to second though Bogaerts held at third. The knuckles were getting real white at this point. Fortunately, after a seven pitch battle, Sanchez flew out to center and the Tigers avoided the sweep.
Monday’s makeup game against the San Francisco Giants will see Tarik Skubal get the start after being pushed back a day. The game is set for 1:10 p.m. ET but there is a very ominous forecast in the works. The Giants haven’t announced a starter yet.