It's not very often the Padres have a seven-game winning streak. It's not very often they come home riding a seven-game winning streak, which included 3 straight against a Wild Card contender. But that's exactly where we find ourselves today.
Well - check that. It's 8 straight now.
After a most satisfying 3-game sweep in the desert, the second 3-game sweep of the season in Phoenix (the last time San Diego swept the D-backs in AZ before this season was NEVER), the team returned home to face Atlanta, leaders in the NL Wild Card. Today was a great day, because:
1. Of the aforementioned 7-game winning streak,
2. It was Padres Social night, which I was not aware of until I got to the ballpark (MAN I've been away a long time), and
3. It marked the Major League Debut of Casey Kelly, that 'other' player we got from Boston for Adrian Gonzalez. His father was in attendance - former major leaguer Pat Kelly, he of 7 ML at-bats in 1980 for the Toronto Blue Jays. And, it was his father's birthday (check that link again).
A lot going on. So let's get to it.
- Interesting tidbit - all the runs Atlanta starter Paul Maholm has allowed since becoming a Brave have scored via a home run. When I read that, my sarcastic thought was 'well here comes the shutout!'. Maybe with the May 2012 Padres. Not the August 2012 Padres. Yasmani Grandal took care of business with a laser of a 2-run HR in the second inning.
- The Kid Kelly pitched 6 effective innings. He worked around a 2-out double from Jason Heyward to get out of the first inning. He froze Paul Janish with a ridiculous curveball for the second out of the second, and straned two runners when Maholm flied to center. After Michael Bourn was doubled off second on a busted hit and run (Martin Prado lined out to second), Kelly allowed only one more baserunner and no more hits.
- In fact, the next Brave hit after that Bourn single was Prado's base knock leading off the ninth. Padres pitchers retired 16 of 18 hitters faced, the only two that reached were via walks, and one of those was erased thanks to a double play.
- That said, Dale Thayer made the eighth inning interesting. Dan Uggla hit a 2-2 pitch to the 396 sign in CF before Cameron Maybin jumped and hauled it in. Chase Headley had to sprawl behind the bag at third to snare Janish's ground ball for the second out of the inning, and Bourn drove Carlos Quentin to the track in LF with his drive.
- Uggla wasn't the only guy who got Petco'd tonight. Quentin's drive in the fourth died just short of the 401 sign in LC, and Logan Forsythe drove Bourn into the wall just to the right of that spot with his blast in the eighth.
- Welcome back Jesus Guzman! Guzman enjoyed his second 2-hit game of this month in only his fourth start of the month. I was feeling all warm inside about my guy ... then he got picked off to end the sixth. Oh well.
Not much else to mention. Maholm pitched well, his only mistake was to Grandal. Tommy Layne came in and threw 6 strikes to retire the side in the seventh. Luke Gregerson notched his second save and ran his scoreless inning streak to 23. A crisply played game in 2:24. 3-0 Padres.
Here's something fun to ponder - the Padres only trail Arizona by 5 games on the loss side. Let's make climbing into third a goal for the rest of this season, yes? If we do that, we'll finish at .500, something unthinkable as even a possibility 6 weeks ago.