Padres pick up Perdomo with late rally
Two rookies took the mound here Tuesday. Oriole Park at Camden Yards served as the latest marker on a fast lane. Each pitcher was a start removed from the performance of his young career.
More lessons were doled out, more reminders that progress is often far from linear. Luis Perdomo was out-pitched by Baltimore Orioles counterpart Tyler Wilson, though in the Padres’ 10-7 victory, it could have been argued that the visiting arm displayed a wider swath of potential.
Perdomo retired the first eight batters he faced, established a new career-high with as many strikeouts and delivered a few costly mistakes not wholly unexpected from a 23-year-old who entered this season lacking experience above Single-A. His youthful shortcomings nearly wound up sinking his team, but following his exit, the Orioles bungled a half-inning to help the Padres to a decisive rally.
Instead of merely touting a moral victory for a Rule 5 right-hander, the Padres (30-42) scored seven unanswered runs and celebrated their second three-game win streak of the year. The Orioles (40-30) contributed to their success in the top of the seventh, committing a fielding error, allowing a run to score on a wild pitch, walking in another with the bases loaded.
The four-run frame saw the Padres send nine batters to the plate and erase a 6-3 deficit. Closer Fernando Rodney extricated the Padres from a tense situation in the eighth, converted a four-out save and nearly tied Randy Jones’ club record for a season-opening scoreless streak before a last-minute run crossed the plate.
Were it not for the occasional pitch left over the plate, Perdomo might not have given Rodney a chance to pitch. The rookie followed his previous entry — a career-high six innings of three-run ball against Miami — by striking out three of his first four opponents. His mid-90s sinker tormented the Orioles. His low-80s slider made them look silly.
In the third, Perdomo faltered. He issued a two-out walk. Adam Jones took advantage with a game-tying, run-scoring double. An ensuing RBI single by Hyun-soo Kim put the Orioles ahead.
Padres catcher Derek Norris re-tied the score the next inning by drilling a home run off Wilson, who was coming off eight shutout innings at Boston. Norris, whose offensive struggles earlier this season were glaring, rounded the bases for the fourth time this month. The Padres retook the lead on a two-out single from Wil Myers.
Perdomo failed to protect the advantage. He yielded a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth. He elevated a 1-2 single to Pedro Alvarez, who obliged with a two-run homer. In the fifth, Perdomo exacerbated a two-out walk with a change-up down the chute. Alvarez blasted his second two-run homer in as many innings.
Perdomo finished with five innings, seven hits and two walks allowed and eight strikeouts. But now, he is better equipped to handle a flawed stat line than he was two months ago.
“We saw the struggles; he couldn’t get anybody out in the spring, and in his first game of the season with us, he gave up six runs,” veteran reliever Carlos Villanueva, who has been a mentor, said before the game. “So, you would think that would deter his confidence, but one thing that you have to give him credit for is that he stayed upbeat, he wants to learn, he doesn’t get down on himself.”
The Orioles’ bullpen and defense simultaneously combusted in the seventh. Matt Kemp opened with his second double of the night. He scored on right fielder Mark Trumbo’s error. Two singles, two walks (including the second in as many plate appearances from Ryan Schimpf) and a wild pitch combined to knot the score at 6. Christian Bethancourt notched an RBI groundout to give the Padres a 7-6 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, setup man Ryan Buchter collected two outs before he encountered trouble. Padres manager Andy Green went to Rodney with two outs and the bases loaded.
Rodney induced a groundout with his second pitch. In the top of the ninth, RBI singles by Alexei Ramirez and Kemp, along with Travis Janowski’s sacrifice bunt, provided additional cushion.
Kemp finished with his first four-hit game since April 8. After a dreadful May, he is hitting .363 (28-for-77) in June.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Orioles placed runners on second and third with one out. Rodney responded by punching out Jones. An Alvarez grounder bounced off the first-base bag for an RBI single, ending Rodney’s run without an earned run at 25 2/3 innings. The closer shrugged off that interruption with a game-ending popout.