Phillies get to Friedrich, outlast Padres
At precisely 100 innings between his major and minor league stops this year, Christian Friedrich may well run up against an innings limit before season’s end. Of course, the reliever-turned-starter may well have gotten through the Padres’ 5-4 loss to the Phillies unscathed if it weren’t for Cameron Rupp.
The Phillies’ catcher touched Friedrich for a three-run homer and a run-scoring double, spoiling a career-best seven-inning start and a late power surge that saw Alexei Ramirez hit his first career pinch-hit homer and Wil Myers tie a Petco Park record with his 15th homer at home.
Myers’ eighth-inning blast – just his second since the home run derby – cut the Padres’ deficit to a run only to have a replay review uphold a double play off the bat of Derek Norris that erased Jabari Blash’s leadoff single in the ninth.
Closer Jeanmar Gomez then got Christian Bethancourt to ground out with a runner on first to send the Padres 15 games under .500 in front of 27,521 at Petco Park.
Justin Upton hit 15 homers in his lone season at Petco Park two years before Will Venable set the record in 2013.
Friedrich was good from the get-go.
The 29-year-old left-hander retired the first eight batters he faced before pitcher Jeremy Hellickson’s third-inning single, didn’t walk a batter and threw 71 of his 94 pitches for strikes.
Still, he paid for his mistakes.
Rupp drove a full-count, 89 mph fastball 427 feet from the plate and off the palm tree in right-center after the first two hitters reached in the fourth on a single and a fielder’s choice. Two innings later, Rupp’s two-out double to left gave the Phillies’ a 4-2 lead.
After a strong start to his stay in San Diego, Friedrich had allowed 30 earned runs over his previous 34 1/3 innings as his fastball dipped into the mid- to high-80s.
Limited to 58 1/3 innings last year as a reliever with the Rockies, Friedrich skipped his bullpen before his previous start and was again throwing in the low-90s last week.
That was the case early Friday night, too, as the Padres struck early to support him.
Shortstop Jose Rondon singled in a run in the second inning – his first career RBI – and Alex Dickerson’s sacrifice fly in the third staked the Padres to a 2-0 lead.
Hellickson’s night ended with two outs in the seventh after Ramirez – out of the lineup since July 29 as the Padres commit playing time to the rookie Rondon – hit his first career pinch-hit homer.
Hellickson allowed three runs on six hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings.