Kemp's 2B, Venable's catch lead Padres past Angels
By Corey Brock and Alden Gonzalez
ANAHEIM -- Matt Kemp, struggling through a nightmarish month of May, came up big Tuesday night, lining a two-out, bases-clearing double in the 10th inning to lead the Padres to a 4-0 win at Angel Stadium.
Both clubs were held scoreless through the first nine frames -- thanks in large part to Will Venable's sensational over-the-wall grab in the third inning, which robbed Mike Trout of a two-run homer.
Angels setup man Joe Smith, who pitched two innings the night before, took the ball for the top of the 10th. The Padres (22-25) loaded the bases on back-to-back walks by Yangervis Solarte and Venable. Smith struck out Justin Upton swinging, but Kemp turned on a 1-0 sinker and lined it down the left-field line to plate three.
"We needed that," Kemp said. "I felt like we needed to win that game right there. I was just excited I could get that hit for the team and get us those runs." More >
Kemp entered that at-bat 16-for-91 with 24 strikeouts this month. His previous time up, he struck out looking against Fernando Salas with two on and two outs in the eighth. The 30-year-old outfielder entered with just six RBIs in 22 May games. Derek Norris followed Kemp's big hit with a bloop single to shallow right field off Vinnie Pestano to extend San Diego's cushion to four.
"I know they haven't been swinging the bats that well," Smith said of the Padres, "but they've got a good lineup, so you get yourself in bad counts against good hitters, it doesn't usually work out for you. That's pretty much what happened tonight."
Angels starter Matt Shoemaker and Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne entered with a combined 6.21 ERA, but blanked their opponent. Shoemaker, who led the American League in homers allowed, gave up just four hits and one walk in seven scoreless innings. Despaigne, coming off pitching six innings of two-run ball against the Cubs, scattered five hits and no walks through six scoreless.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Golden glove: Venable did his best to keep the Angels off the scoreboard, as he robbed Trout of a two-run home run in the third inning, leaping to get Trout's drive to center and pulling it back with a sensational grab. More >
Blanked again: The Angels -- 23rd in the Majors in runs per game and 28th in OPS heading in -- mustered only five hits and got only three at-bats with runners in scoring position all night. From the start of the seventh inning on, they only had two baserunners.
"As hard as you try and worry about the process, this game is about results -- and you need results to win," Angels third baseman David Freese said. "We're having good approaches, for the most part, we're doing some good things offensively. We're just not really getting it done." More >
No soft-tosser: Despaigne doesn't have the reputation of being a flamethrower by any means, as he likes to attacks with slow stuff, changing arm angles, etc. But five of his first six strikeouts Tuesday, like the 93 mph fastball he threw by David Freese with a runner on third base to end the sixth inning, were clocked at 90 mph or higher.
"He landed a few changeups and curves, but he's had some buzz [velocity] lately," said Padres manager Bud Black of Despaigne.
Damage control: The Padres loaded the bases with one out against Shoemaker in the fourth, but the Angels' starter came back to strike out Cory Spangenberg and got Will Middlebrooks to ground out, on a hard short-hop Freese stayed in front of at third base. Shoemaker retired nine of his next 10 batters to shut the Padres out through seven, on 94 pitches.
"Overall, much better," said Shoemaker, who lowered his ERA from 6.29 to 5.44. "There were still some pitches I missed where I wanted to throw them -- you're gonna have that kind of game, but the more you hit your spots, the better success you're gonna have. So overall, it was better." More >
"We need him to be Matt Kemp." -- Black on his struggling outfielder
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Despaigne, the road warrior? Not since his first Major League start last June in San Francisco has Despaigne allowed no earned runs away from home. But that's what he did against the Angels. Despaigne went into this start with a career road ERA of 5.83 in 10 starts. He's fared far better at Petco Park (2.70 ERA).
• Entering Tuesday's nail-biter, 23 of the Angels' first 45 games had been decided by two runs or less, fourth-most in the American League. They aren't hitting well, but they're pitching well (fourth-best rotation ERA in the AL). Tuesday marked the fourth time they've been shut out -- once more than they had all of last year.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres: Tough-luck starter Andrew Cashner (1-7, 2.89) gets the ball in the final game of the three-game series against the Angels. Poor defense and bad run support have certainly hurt Cashner, as he's yielded 12 unearned runs and has been given only 15 runs of support in his nine starts.
Angels:Garrett Richards (4-2, 2.98 ERA) takes the ball for the 7:05 p.m. PT series finale on Wednesday night. The young right-hander, who turns 27 on Wednesday, has been pretty much the same dominant pitcher from last year in his return from major knee surgery, allowing just 16 runs (15 earned) on 32 hits in 45 1/3 innings.