Amarista lifts Padres to series win over M's
ASSOCIATED PRESS  |
Published: Sunday, June 24, 2012, 12:01am
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- To the San Diego Padres, it seemed proper that their relievers played a big role in this win.
Before the Sunday's game, the Padres found out that longtime bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds had died from pancreatic cancer. The team then went out and played one of its most complete games, with Edinson Volquez combining with three relievers to beat the Seattle Mariners 2-0.
Two of the three relievers -- Joe Thatcher and Luke Gregerson -- credited Akerfelds with accelerating their careers.
"That was fitting, wasn't it? Especially with the two guys he mentored, Joe and Luke," teary-eyed San Diego manager Bud Black said. "It was a good win. The outcome for all of us who have known him for a long time was special."
Akerfelds, who pitched for five seasons in the major leagues, died in the morning at 50. He had been the bullpen coach for San Diego since June 2001.
Akerfelds was diagnosed with cancer in December 2010. Last season, he was with the team for 148 of the 162 games despite undergoing chemotherapy. He was still with the team in the early part of this season.
"There wasn't one point when it felt like a normal game," Gregerson said. "We spent most of the time out in the bullpen telling stories about Ack."
Said Thatcher: "Today was awesome for us to come in and pitch like we did. It was tough out there."
Black told the players about one hour before game time the news about Akerfelds, who had been with the organization since 1997.
"As the game went on, it was a baseball game," Black said. "The dialogue, the chatter in the dugout was like a normal game. But when it got later and the game was on the line, it was little different."
Thatcher relieved Volquez with a runner on first and two outs in the seventh, and retired Ichiro Suzuki on grounder.
Gregerson pitched the eighth and allowed pinch hitter Kyle Seager's one-out double. He escaped when Justin Smoak hit a soft liner to second baseman Alexi Amarista, who doubled Seager off second.
Volquez (4-7) was in command as he allowed just four singles in 6 2-3 innings and was not hurt by the control issues that have hampered him this season.
Volquez, who leads the majors in walks with 55, walked three but was rarely stressed by the Mariners.
Amarista provided the only runs Volquez needed with a two-run double in the fourth inning.
Huston Street pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 10th save in as many chances.
Volquez won for just the second time in his last eight starts. He had been 1-5 with a 5.72 ERA in his last seven, while walking at least three in each of those outings.
Hector Noesi (2-9) extended his career-high losing streak to six games. He's tied with Baltimore's Jake Arrieta for the major league lead in losses.
Noesi had one of his better recent outings as he allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings. The right-hander has not won since May 6 against Minnesota.
"I thought he threw the ball better," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He was much more consistent, ready with everything."
Seattle, which has lost three of four, did not have a runner advance past second base. The Mariners had scored 32 runs in the first five games of the road trip.
The Padres loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth on a leadoff walk to Chase Headley and consecutive singles by Chris Denorfia and John Baker.
Cameron Maybin hit a liner right back to Noesi, who caught the ball at the last moment. But on the next pitch, Amarista hit a ball over the head of left fielder Casper Wells that bounced into the stands for a two-run double.
NOTES: Volquez is 3-0 in four career starts against the Mariners. ... Noesi's other start against San Diego was a 1-0 loss on June 13 when he allowed the game's only run on a home run. ... San Diego finished with an 8-7 interleague record, just the third time in 16 years of interleague play that the Padres had a winning record. The other years were 1999 and 2010. ... Denorfia extended his career-best hitting streak to 11 games, the longest by a Padres player this season. ... Padres 1B Yonder Alonso was out of the starting lineup to give his ailing knee a chance to rest. Alonso is also expected to be out of the lineup for Monday's game at Houston. ... Mariners RHP Erasmo Ramirez (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will face Athletics LHP Tommy Milone (7-5, 4.13) when Seattle returns home on Monday night. ... Padres RHP Ross Ohlendorf (1-0, 4.50) matches up against Astros LHP Wandy Rodriguez on Monday night to start a four-game series.