Offense was not in short supply for either the Padres or the 51s on Tuesday, in a seesaw game of three lead changes. The teams combined for 21 runs – 11 in the sixth inning alone – on 33 hits in Tucson’s 11-10 victory over Las Vegas.
In the first of a four-game series, a total of 7 homeruns were hit during the Tuesday night slugfest: 4 by the Padres and 3 by the 51s. Eight of the Padres’ 11 runs came off of homeruns, while 6 of 10 Las Vegas runs were manufactured by the long ball as well.
Las Vegas opened the contest by grabbing a 1-0 lead in the top half of the first, initiated by a leadoff triple by Anthony Gose. Beginning the game with an extra-base hit of its own, Tucson received a leadoff double by Blake Tekotte. The Padres tied the game in the first inning on a single by Jedd Gyorko to make the score 1-1.
The 51s regained the lead in the second by three hits and a walk, putting the scoreboard in Las Vegas’s favor, 3-1. The Padres answered with a three-run bottom of the second, with all of the runs coming off a 3-run homerun by Anthony Contreras. The shot had made it just inside the right foul pole and gave Tucson a 4-3 lead, their first of the night.
“There were two strikes on me, so I was just trying to put the ball in play,” Contreras said. “He was coming with fastballs in on me the whole time, but then he made a mistake and hung a curveball. So I was able to be early on it and caught the ball on a good part of the bat.”
“Lately, I’ve been working on getting my foot down earlier, so I can evaluate pitches better. I’ve been late on a lot of pitches in the last couple weeks, so I’ve made that adjustment, and it’s been working.”
In the top of the third, Danny Perales evened the score for Las Vegas, 4-4, with a solo homerun. In the bottom half of the frame, Tucson threatened with runners on first and third and no one out but couldn’t push one across.
The 51s snatched a one-run lead in the bottom of the fourth with a solo homerun by Travis d’ Arnaud, putting Las Vegas ahead, 5-4.
After a scoreless frame by both teams in the fifth, the 51s added 5 insurance runs in the sixth inning. Third baseman Yan Gomes hit a grand slam, contributing 4 runs to the Las Vegas rally and giving his team a 10-4 lead.
“At that point, we were just trying to take it one batter at a time,” Gyorko said. “Between being in a place like Tucson – where the ball really flies – and knowing the kind of hitters we have on this team, we know there’s no deficit we can’t come back from. So we just kept battling, and it worked out.”
Trailing by 6 in the bottom of sixth, Tucson pushed across 6 runs to tie the game at 10-10. The sixth inning slugfest was highlighted by a 3-run homerun by Matt Clark and solo shot by Yasmani Grandal.
After both teams posted zeros in the seventh, Gyorko tipped the scale in the bottom of the eighth with a solo homerun to right field to put Tucson up, 11-10.
“On my homerun, he threw me a first pitch fastball inside, which I really hadn’t seen the whole night, so that kind of surprised me,” Gyorko said. “Then he threw me a couple sliders, so I had a feeling he was going to go to it again. So I sat on it, and I was able to put a good swing on it.”
The Padres second baseman went 4-for-5 at the plate with 3 RBIs on the night.
“It was one of those nights that you hope to have every night,” Gyorko said. “I was kind of relaxed, kind of tired from the traveling, so I was able to be loose and stay focused.”
The score would end at 11-10, in Tucson’s favor. Brad Boxberger threw a hitless, scoreless ninth inning to earn his fourth save of the season.
The Padres continue their series against Las Vegas tonight at Kino Stadium at 7:05 p.m.