Rain Delay Throws Hefner A Curve, Padres Blast Mets
Updated at 12:53 a.m., May 25, 2012
NEW YORK (AP) — Padres manager Bud Black tried spinning a tale about extra batting practice in the cages during the rain delay to explain why his offense came alive when the game resumed.
He couldn’t do it. The swings that counted were just too good.
Will Venable hit a pair of RBI doubles and Cameron Maybin had two run-scoring singles as San Diego started hitting the moment the tarp came off and beat the New York Mets 11-5 Thursday night.
“Started raking in the cage and we carried it over out on the field,” Black said before giving long pause, followed by a deadpan “no,” while trying to contain a smile.
“I thought all night long the guys had really good at-bats,” he said after the laughter died down. That was probably, obviously, the best offensive night we had all year.”
Jesus Guzman hit a two-run double in a four-run third to help the Padres rebound from being swept in a three-game series in St. Louis. Everth Cabrera had a career-high four hits and Eric Stults (1-0) pitched five innings to earn his first win with San Diego.
Fielding a lineup in which the 6-7-8 batters all had averages under .200, the Padres set a season-high for runs and had their best effort for hits with 18. Cabera was just 2 for 21 coming in. Nick Hundley homered in the eighth to give every position player at least one hits.
“It was very encouraging just to see up and down the lineup to see the quality of at-bats the guys had,” Hundley said. Watching guys like Will and Cabby and Chase just battle and grind. … It’s starting to come a little bit.”
Both starters wearing No. 53 returned to the mound following a delay of 1 hour, 8 minutes after the second inning. Stults adjusted better than Jeremy Hefner (0-2), shutting down the Mets for three more innings.
Stults might have gone longer but he was hit by a comebacker on his triceps on the final out of the fourth inning and Black said that it started bothering Stults on breaking pitches after the fifth.
“I think it should be OK,” Stults said.
David Wright hit a two-run homer off Matt Palmer in the sixth and he finished 3 for 5 to raise his average to .405 in the first game of the Mets’ season-long 11-game homestand.
“He’s in a zone like no other,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “His whole approach, I mean, you watch him get ready before a game starts. He’s got a routine he sticks with. He believes in it and he gets himself ready to play.”
Hefner was making his first big league start — against the team that drafted and signed him in 2007, when New York’s current GM Sandy Alderson was running the Padres. Hefner twice chose college over signing with the Padres after they picked him in the 2004 and `05 drafts.
Alderson got Hefner back this winter off the waiver wire from Pittsburgh, which had the right-hander for a month.
Pitching in the rain from the start, Hefner gave up a hit in two innings and the Mets led 1-0 on an unearned run when the rain picked up and the tarp came out. Play resumed 1 hour, 8 minutes later.
“I hadn’t experienced that in my career and so I didn’t really have anything to base it off of. I felt fine,” Hefner said about pitching after the long delay. “After the second inning, from then on, I didn’t execute my pitches.”
He promptly gave up a double down the third base line to Cabrera to restart the game. After Stults grounded out, the Padres scored four times on four straight hits.
Venable slapped an opposite-field RBI double just inside third base, Maybin had a run-scoring single, Yonder Alonso doubled and Guzman drove in two runs with a double for a 4-1 lead.
Venable and Maybin had RBI hits with two outs in fourth, ending Hefner’s night. Venable finished with two hits a night after coming up a triple shy of the cycle.
Hefner gave up nine hits and six runs.
Stults gave up one hit after the wait. Overall, he allowed an unearned run and four hits in five innings. He was claimed off waivers by the Padres from the Chicago White Sox on May 17.
With 13 players on the disabled list, including starters Tim Stauffer, Cory Luebke and Dustin Moseley, Stults has been a nice addition for San Diego. In his first start, he allowed two runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings.
With Stults out, the Mets tried mounting a rally. Wright’s homer to straightaway center field cut the lead to 6-3 and Scott Hairston followed with a single. But Brad Brach relieved and struck out the side.
The Mets scored a run in the second on Hundley’s throwing error.
Ronny Cedeno batted leadoff for the fifth time in his eight-year career. He went 0 for 5.
NOTES: Mets manager Terry Collins said struggling 1B Ike Davis would not be sent to the minors to work on his swing. He said he’d be more selective in the matchups he chooses for Davis, who entered Thursday’s game hitting .159 (23 for 145). Davis had a two-run pinch-hit single in the eighth… About 10 of Alonso’s teammates watched his appearances on the MLB channel before batting practice. They gave him a round of applause when the interview was over. … NYPD Officer Kevin Brennan, who was shot in the head Jan. 31, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)