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Stults fans 12, Padres rally in 10th to knock off Mariners

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN DIEGO -- Eric Stults had nothing to show for his best start of the season, though it was just what his team needed.

The San Diego Padres starting pitcher couldn't have been happier after Will Venable drove home the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning to beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Venable's third game-ending hit scored Chris Denorfia from third to complete an improbable comeback after Padres batters struggled mightily through the first eight innings.

It also allowed Stults to smile after a career-high, 12-strikeout performance where he allowed one run and three hits over eight dominant innings.

"The numbers were great, but the win was the important thing," Stults said. "The end result is all that matters and I'm proud of how we rallied late and were able to finish this game on top."

Kyle Blanks forced extra innings in the bottom of the ninth with a one-out sacrifice fly off Mariners closer Tom Wilhemsen, who blew his second save in 13 tries by allowing only his second earned run in 23 innings.

The dramatic finish followed a home run from Jason Bay off Padres closer Huston Street that gave Seattle a 2-1 lead in the ninth. Street has given up seven home runs in 20 1/3 innings this season.

Stults, by contrast, was on point.

"Eric pitched brilliantly," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Stults has pitched some very good games for us, but I don't know how you throw any better. All four pitches were effective and were thrown with excellent command. That was impressive."

The left-hander struck out hitters in bunches, including two stretches of four straight. Stults' previous strikeout best was nine, set on Aug. 17, 2007, while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Colorado Rockies.

"I'm not really a strikeout guy," Stults said. "I normally pitch to contact, but I felt like I could attack their aggressiveness and use all my pitches to get them out. I was able to throw off-speed pitches low in the zone, and I believed I could make them swing and miss with that game plan."

The Mariners were frustrated all night by a pitcher who doesn't throw fastballs above 90 mph and has a curveball 20 mph slower. They've lost seven straight on the road, and have struggled to score runs during a brutal 2-10 stretch.

"We have got to get the offense going," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "That's what sticks with you during runs like this. We're not scoring enough runs and we're inconsistent. The guys have to step up."

Seattle wasted a solid effort by starter Joe Saunders.

Saunders continued his dominance over the Padres with one run and four hits allowed in seven strong innings, but his bullpen let him down. Saunders has allowed just one run in his last 29 2/3 innings against the Padres.

Chase Headley opened the scoring with a 403-foot solo home run to left field in the first inning.

Saunders kept the Padres off balance with a mix of pitches and a well-placed fastball, and pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings after Headley's blast.

"When you see a guy like Stults putting up zeros, you tell yourself you have to do the same," Saunders said. "Whatever it takes, you have to keep your team in the game."

Saunders did so, but the Padres wore on the Mariners' bullpen in the eighth and ninth before breaking through in the 10th inning.

The Padres got to Seattle reliever Yoervis Medina (1-1) to win it in the 10th. Denorfia legged out an infield hit and advanced to third on Everth Cabrera's seeing-eye bloop single near second base. Headley was intentionally walked before Venable's game-winner.

"I was really comfortable up there," Venable said. "I got a decent pitch to hit and was able to find a spot where they couldn't make a play. It's nice to win one like that. It shows great resolve all around."

Luke Gregerson (3-2) pitched a scoreless 10th to earn the victory.

Notes

  • Padres C Yasmani Grandal didn't shed much light on his use of performance-enhancing drugs on Wednesday in his first press conference with home media since testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone in November. He did say that he took an illegal substance in order to stay healthy, not to sustain an edge over the competition. He didn't divulge further details about PED use, citing an open MLB investigation surrounding the issue.
  • Mariners OF Michael Morse remained in Seattle when the team left for Wednesday's game at San Diego due to a quadriceps strain suffered on Tuesday. He was examined on Wednesday, and Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he believed Morse's would gone 3-5 days and that he could catch up with the team during a weekend series at Minnesota.
  • 1B Justin Smoak, out since Saturday with a strained oblique muscle, took batting practice and pinch hit in the eighth inning.
  • Padres INF Logan Forsythe, on the 60-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis, moved his minor-league rehab assignment from extended spring training to Triple-A Tucson.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Yonder Alonso (left) congratulates game hero Will Venable, who drives in the winning run in the 10th, with a postgame shower.  (USATSI)
Yonder Alonso (left) congratulates game hero Will Venable, who drives in the winning run in the 10th, with a postgame shower. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
San Diego

E. Stults
IP 8.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 0
K 12
Seattle

J. Saunders
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 0
K 3
 
Seattle Mariners
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jason Bay, LF4111020 .241
Endy Chavez, RF4110000 .295
Kyle Seager, 3B4010010 .269
Kendrys Morales, 1B4001020 .294
Kelly Shoppach, C4000031 .207
Michael Saunders, CF4000020 .215
Nick Franklin, 2B4010010 .125
Brendan Ryan, SS3000011 .205
Joe Saunders, P2000011 .000
   a- Justin Smoak, PH1000000 .240
    Carter Capps, P0000000 .000
    Tom Wilhelmsen, P0000000 .000
    Yoervis Medina, P0000000 .000
Totals34242013  
a-flied out for Saunders in the 8th
Batting
2B - Kyle Seager (17, Stults)
HR - Jason Bay (6, Street)
RBI - Jason Bay (13), Kendrys Morales (29)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
PB - Kelly Shoppach (2)
Seattle Mariners
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Joe Saunders 7411031 5.57
Carter Capps 1200120 3.86
Tom Wilhelmsen (BS,2) 1111200 0.78
Yoervis Medina (L,1-1)0311100 3.52
IBB - Alonso by Tom Wilhelmsen, Headley by Yoervis Medina
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 89-54, Carter Capps 20-13, Tom Wilhelmsen 25-12, Yoervis Medina 12-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 8-9, Tom Wilhelmsen 1-2
Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 24, Carter Capps 6, Tom Wilhelmsen 6, Yoervis Medina 4
San Diego Padres
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Chris Denorfia, CF-RF5130000 .309
Everth Cabrera, SS5020015 .265
Chase Headley, 3B4111116 .259
Yasmani Grandal, C3000100 .143
    Will Venable, PR-CF1111000 .229
Jedd Gyorko, 2B4010000 .269
Yonder Alonso, 1B3000100 .277
Kyle Blanks, RF-LF3001020 .263
Jesus Guzman, LF2010000 .194
   a- Alexi Amarista, PH-CF2010002 .275
    Nick Hundley, C0000000 .252
Eric Stults, P2000011 .167
   b- Mark Kotsay, PH0000100 .286
    Huston Street, P0000000 .000
   c- Carlos Quentin, PH1000002 .220
    Luke Gregerson, P0000000 .000
Totals35310345  
a-doubled for Guzman in the 8th
b-walked for Stults in the 8th
c-grounded out for Street in the 9th
Batting
2B - Everth Cabrera (7, Saunders), Alexi Amarista (8, Capps)
HR - Chase Headley (5, Saunders)
SF - Kyle Blanks (2)
RBI - Chase Headley (16), Will Venable (19), Kyle Blanks (13)
2-OUT RBI - Chase Headley (6)
SB - Yonder Alonso (3, 2nd base off Wilhelmsen/Shoppach)
CS - Everth Cabrera (5, 3rd base by Saunders/Shoppach)
Team LOB - 10
San Diego Padres
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Eric Stults 83110120 3.86
Huston Street 1111001 4.43
Luke Gregerson (W,3-2) 1000010 0.83
Pitches-Strikes - Eric Stults 106-68, Huston Street 13-7, Luke Gregerson 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Eric Stults 4-8, Huston Street 2-1, Luke Gregerson 1-1
Batters Faced - Eric Stults 27, Huston Street 4, Luke Gregerson 3
Game Information
Attendance - 19882
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Dan Bellino, Second Base - Mike DiMuro, Third Base - Ted Barrett