Pitchers' park? Padres plate 18 in PETCO rout
Friars set scoring record in cruising past Mets in opener
SAN DIEGO -- Who said PETCO Park is a pitchers' park?
At least for one night, that certainly wasn't the case.
The Padres blew all stereotypes out the window on Monday when they cruised to an 18-6 victory over the Mets, setting a record for the most runs scored at PETCO Park -- and the most by San Diego this season.
"Sometimes, it's a snowball effect," said Padres third baseman Chase Headley, who had four hits in the game, including his fourth home run of the season in the seventh inning. "You get a couple guys going, and everyone gets going."
Just about everyone on the Padres got going.
San Diego (31-20) pounded 19 hits and walked eight times. Six players got on base three or more times, five recorded multiple RBIs and six scored more than one run.
For a team that has been in a slew of tight, low-scoring games all season -- the Padres had scored 16 runs combined in the six games on this homestand heading into Monday's contest -- it was a sigh of relief.
"We took our walks, we stayed on them and we didn't let up," said Padres manager Bud Black. "I think we're seeing some signs from a number of our guys swinging the bats well."
And no single swing of the bat was bigger than the one from Jerry Hairston Jr. in the second inning that essentially got the offensive party started.
After three consecutive singles by Nick Hundley, Chris Denorfia and Oscar Salazar to start the inning, Hairston belted a two-out grand slam to left field to give the Padres the 4-1 lead they never relinquished.
"Obviously, I wasn't thinking home run," Hairston said. "I just wanted to get a good pitch to hit and put it in play somewhere hard, and hopefully get a couple RBIs. I don't hit a lot of grand slams, it's not like I'm Manny [Ramirez] or Alex [Rodriguez], but it feels good, obviously, because you put runs on the board."
The blast was the second grand slam of Hairston's career and his third home run in seven games, but it was just the beginning for the Padres' bats.
San Diego blew the game open in the fifth inning when Raul Valdes, who was on in relief after Mets starter Hisanori Takahashi (4-2) gave up six runs in four innings, walked in a pair of runs to make the score 8-4, and then Luis Durango tallied the first two RBIs of his career on a single up the middle to score both Hundley and Denorfia.
The Padres sent 10 men to the plate in the sixth inning and tacked on six more runs to take a 16-6 lead. After Denorfia doubled to right to score Adrian Gonzalez and Headley, Will Venable drove in a pair on a pinch-hit single to left. Durango then scored on a throwing error by Mets first baseman Ike Davis, and David Eckstein later brought Venable home on a sacrifice fly.
Though the offensive outburst was uncharacteristic for this particular club, it probably shouldn't be a surprise that it came with Kevin Correia (5-4) on the mound. After all, he was the starter when San Diego scored a then-record 17 runs at PETCO Park in its home opener on April 12 and is now getting 8.35 runs of support per game.
"I threw four innings really well, and then they started scoring some runs, so I was like, 'Why waste a good outing today?'" Correia joked. "When we're going to score so many runs, we might as well save [a better start] for a day where I'm not going to get so many runs."
Correia allowed six runs in six innings, but five of those runs were given up after the Padres already established a comfortable cushion.
"The 90-plus pitches he threw, a lot of them were good, were quality," Black said. "The mistakes that he made came around to score, but his arm feels good, his stuff is good. He's really close to stringing some really solid innings together."
The record-breaking run came in the eighth inning on a single to left by Lance Zawadzki to score Durango -- his first Major League RBI.
But probably more importantly, the lopsided game allowed San Diego to rest the core of its bullpen in Luke Gregerson, Mike Adams and Heath Bell, who the Padres have often leaned on in tight contests. Instead, Ryan Webb, Sean Gallagher and Joe Thatcher finished the game with three scoreless innings.
"Mentally, for our pitchers, they're grinding each and every day because we're playing so many close games," Headley said. "It's nice to be able to sit our back three at the end of the game and not have to rely on them."
Gina Mizell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.