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Matt Waldron, Jeremiah Estrada pitch Padres past Marlins

Kevin Acee, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Baseball

On a still night at Petco Park, Matt Waldron’s knuckleball fluttered and fell like a piece of paper in the wind.

The Marlins were blown away.

The right-hander threw a career-high seven scoreless innings, and Jurickson Profar drove in the Padres’ first three runs in 4-0 victory at Petco Park that moved them to two games above .500 for the first time in 39 games.

After Wandy Peralta worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, Jeremiah Estrada struck out the side in the ninth, becoming the first pitcher in the expansion era (since 1961) to strike out 13 consecutive batters.

Waldron, making his 10th start of the season and 17th of his career, used his wacky signature pitch more than he ever had. And to great effect.

He yielded six hits, struck out eight and did not walk a batter.

Josh Bell went the other way with a soft line drive down the left field line for a two-out double in the first inning and had half the Marlins’ hits against Waldron (2-5, 4.26 ERA).

In both the fourth and sixth innings, Bell hit a one-out single and Jake Burger a two-out single. That was the extent of any trouble Waldron experienced.

Waldron, who had trouble finding the strike zone with his knuckleball and fastball while battling through five innings in his previous start, threw three balls among his first 20 pitches and threw strikes at a 78.8 percent rate on the night, his highest ever. He threw a first-pitch strike to 22 of the 27 batters he faced, using the knuckleball on the first pitch for 12 of those.

 

In all, Waldron threw the knuckleball 47 times among his 84 pitches — a 55 percent rate that was almost 10 percentage points higher than he had in any of his previous starts.

After Fernando Tatis Jr. singled with one out in the first inning, Profar smashed a Jesús Luzardo fastball in the heart of the strike zone 404 feet, just beyond leaping center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. and into Padres bullpen.

Luzardo, who had shut out the Brewers over eight innings in his last start and was riding a 14-inning scoreless streak, had not allowed a run in the first inning of any of his eight starts and had allowed just three first-inning hits.

Three straight singles — by Luis Arraez, Tatis and Profar — made it 3-0 in the fourth inning.

Donovan Solano’s RBI double in the eighth inning completed the scoring. His third hit of the game drove in Manny Machado, who had singled and stole second base.

The victory, the Padres’ third straight and 16th in 26 games, made them 30-28. The last time they were two games above .500 was at 11-9 on April 16.

The Padres lost the first two games of this six-game homestand and are now a victory in Wednesday’s series finale from winning just their second (of six) homestand of the season.

They have also won six of their past eight series.


©2024 The San Diego Union-Tribune. Visit sandiegouniontribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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