Arizona Diamondbacks Tee Off on San Diego Padres

Corner Infielder Jake Lamb Leads Way

Diamondbacks Padres
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz - Eduardo Escobar (#5) of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against San Diego Padres pitcher Joey Lucchesi (#37) in the first inning of a Cactus League game on March 7, 2020. The Diamondbacks won, 10-5. (Photo by Evan Thompson)

Diamondbacks 10, Padres 5

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Mar. 7) – Jake Lamb hit two doubles and a home run to lead a scoring onslaught as the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the San Diego Padres, 10-5, in Cactus League play on Saturday afternoon.

Diamondbacks Bat Around in First as Padres Struggle to Find the Zone

Padres starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi struggled in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Ketel Marte – the Diamondbacks second baseman – legged out an infield single, beating out a high, slow chopper to second. After catcher Carson Kelly walked, third baseman Eduardo Escobar lined a sharp single to left. This loaded the bases for first baseman Christian Walker, who walked, bringing Marte home. That brought up first baseman Jake Lamb, who lined a rocket into the right-center-field gap for a base-clearing double.

With the score now 4-0 and still nobody out, shortstop Nick Ahmed walked, putting runners on first and second for left fielder Pavin Smith. He grounded into a 6-4-3 double play as Lamb advanced to third. Up came right fielder Trayce Thompson, who walked. That chased Lucchesi from the game, bringing in Matt Strahm to stop the bleeding. Center fielder Ben DeLuzio, the ninth hitter of the inning, flied to left, ending the big inning.

Strahm also walked two in the second but managed to escape unscathed thanks to a 5-4 force play at second and two strikeouts.

Merrill Kelly Solid through Four

Merrill Kelly did not allow a hit until the third, when center fielder Abraham Almonte lined a two-out triple to the gap in right-center. It snuck past Thompson’s outstretched glove and one-hopped the wall. Third baseman Greg Garcia followed with a grounder to second, retiring the side and leaving Almonte stranded on third.

Right fielder Josh Naylor managed the second hit off Kelly, when he hit a two-out single to left in the fourth. It went opposite field against the shift, rolling through the empty spot where the third baseman usually plays. First baseman Ty France followed with a homer to left-center, making the score 4-2. Shortstop Jake Cronenworth, up next, flied to right, sending the game to the bottom of the fourth.

Padres Tie It Up, Diamondbacks Immediately Respond

The Diamondbacks stranded a runner on third in the bottom of the fourth. Archie Bradley took over on the mound for the Diamondbacks in the fifth. Left fielder Franchy Cordero welcomed him to the game with a homer to right-center on the first pitch, cutting the Arizona lead to 4-3. A walk, a forceout, and a grounder to third later, designated hitter Tommy Pham dumped a single to center, scoring center fielder Abraham Almonte from second to tie the game. Second baseman Brian Dozier came up next and fanned, retiring the side.

Lamb gave the lead back to his team in the bottom of the inning, sending a 3-2 fastball from new pitcher Lake Bachar over the fence in straightaway right for a leadoff homer. After shortstop Nick Ahmed grounded to a diving Greg Garcia at third, the Diamondbacks rattled off four straight hits. Smith ripped a single to right and went to third on a follow-up double by Thompson. They both scored when speedy center fielder Ben DeLuzio, up next, tripled off the center-field fence. Reserve third baseman Wyatt Mathisen then smoked a double off the fence in right, scoring DeLuzio and making the score 8-4. The next two hitters – Carson Kelly and reserve second baseman Mike Ahmed – popped to second and flied to the track in left, respectively, ending the inning.

Padres Threaten, but Diamondbacks Extend Lead

Bradley ran into trouble in the top of the sixth after allowing a one-out walk and a double. Junior Garcia relieved him and bailed him out, striking out Cordero and getting catcher Francisco Mejia to ground to short.

Lamb continued abusing the Padres pitching staff with a leadoff double to right in the bottom of the inning, but that’s where he remained for the rest of the frame, as Nick Ahmed flied to right and Smith grounded to second, respectively.

The Diamondbacks pushed across another run in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a combination of a hit batsman, two walks, and a wild pitch. A 10th run came in the bottom of the eighth. Reserve left fielder Eduardo Diaz led off with a double. After a walk and two strikeouts, he scored on a single to left by reserve third baseman Wyatt Mathisen.

The Padres scored in the top of the ninth thanks to a leadoff triple by reserve left fielder Taylor Trammell. He scored on a sacrifice fly by the next batter, Mejia. No one else came across in the inning, giving the Diamondbacks a 10-5 victory.

Bradley received the win while Bachar took the loss.

Ahmed Brothers on the Same Field

A special highlight of the game came in the top of the fifth, when brothers Nick and Mike Ahmed took the field as the shortstop and second baseman, respectively. They played two innings together and nearly turned a double play in the fifth. Almonte hit a grounder to Nick, who threw to Mike for a force out on Mejia. Mike’s throw to first, however, was a split second late. Manager Torey Lovullo said after the game, “We were semi-overshifted…. In a typical setup it would have been a double play.”

We all know how stories can change over time, and Lovullo joked about that. “In 10 years when they’re talking about it, they might switch the narrative and talk about turning the double play rather than the guy being safe,” he said with a smile.


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