video thumbnail

NYM@SD: Amarista singles home the Padres' first run

SAN DIEGO -- Padres starter Edinson Volquez is prone to lose command of his fastball now and then. In the second inning of Saturday's game, he simply never had it in the first place.

What he had was a small blister on the thumb of his throwing hand, something Volquez said developed in San Francisco, which gave him no trouble in his throwing sessions this week, but it became painful in the first inning, and debilitating in the second, when Volquez yielded four runs to create a deficit his team could not erase in a 6-2 loss to the Mets.

"I threw a breaking ball to [Jordany] Valdespin in the first inning, and it just didn't feel right," Volquez said. "I came back for the second inning and it just got worse and worse."

Volquez walked four Mets in the second inning -- two of them with the bases loaded -- and yielded a two-run double to Valdespin before exiting the game with two outs. In that time, Volquez threw 54 pitches and faced just 11 batters, six of whom worked three-ball counts.

As his feel for the ball evaporated with the blister, Volquez said, his mechanics followed.

"When you have that in your mind, you've lost confidence in your pitches," Volquez said. "You don't want to throw your breaking ball because it will hurt you. ... But you don't trust your fastball, either, because you feel pain. It's just tough. ... But it's something you have to deal with."

"His mechanics were out of whack, as much as I've seen them this season," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He just felt a little uncomfortable tonight more than any other time. It was to the point where I thought it might not get better as the game went on."

But while Volquez's troublesome blister may have explained his inability to find the strike zone, he wasn't the only hurler searching for it. All told, Padres' pitchers walked 10 and threw 94 balls in 212 pitches.

Yet, for all the jams their wildness created, San Diego relievers found enough strikes to work out of them nearly every time, leaving 13 Mets runners on base and holding New York to a 3-for-15 showing with runners in scoring position.

Among the five Padres pitchers who patched together the 7 1/3 innings after Volquez's departure was right-hander Cory Burns, who made his Major League debut, facing David Wright as his first big league batter. In keeping with the theme, Burns walked him.

"My knees were a little shaky the first couple hitters, had a couple walks, but I made some pitches in the inning to battle out of things," said Burns, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth. "But I felt good about my outing."

Burns would also walk former Padres outfielder Mike Baxter, who set a Mets record for walks in a nine-inning game with five. Vince Coleman also recorded five walks in 1992 game against the Pirates, though that game went 16 innings. Baxter, a former Padres outfielder, was one of two Mets to reach base five times, joining Daniel Murphy, who was 4-for-4 with a walk.

And while things could have been much worse for San Diego, considering the Mets' near futility with runners in scoring position, six runs proved to be more than enough. Jeremy Hefner, also formerly of the Padres system, held San Diego to one run on five hits in six innings, and the Mets bullpen held the Padres to just one run the rest of the day.

"It was fun. It was sweet," Hefner said. "I know a bunch of those guys still and can call them friends. It was a lot of fun."

Three of the five hits Hefner did allow came from second baseman Alexi Amarista, who was 3-for-4. He and double-play partner Everth Cabrera (2-for-3), were the lone Padres with multihit days.

The Padres tried to mount a rally in the ninth, when Chase Headley smacked the first pitch he saw from Bobby Parnell into deep left-center, where it landed in the San Diego bullpen for his career-high 14th homer. Yonder Alonso followed that with his 30th double, and Cameron Maybin then reached base with the Padres' first walk of the day.

But one walk was all San Diego would get, as the Mets called on Frank Francisco to close things out, and he did just that, inducing a double play to end a game that saw the Padres walk 10 batters at Petco for the first time since June 2009.

MLB.com Comments