Saunders stifles San Diego offense
Photo by Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
Joe Saunders must like facing the Padres.
Last month, the southpaw silenced the San Diego lineup in a dominating performance at Petco Park. He tossed eight shutout innings before yielding a single run in the bottom of the ninth.
On Saturday night, Saunders toed the rubber against the Padres once again, and similar to his July 26outing in San Diego, the left-hander quieted the Padre offense for seven innings. He scattered four hits and allowed a lone run while striking out three as the D-backs held on to a 3-1 victory.
Saunders is now 9-11 on the season with a 3.82 ERA.
His strong pitching performance is just the latest of notable starts from the D-backs’ staff.
“They’ve been outstanding,” catcher Miguel Montero said. “They’re working quick, working ahead in the count and making pitches when they need to. That’s all you can ask, you know. They’ve been working hard, and it’s been fun to catch them.”
The Virginia native recorded a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first by collecting three groundouts. It was more of the same for Saunders in the second frame, as he retired the side in order.
After striking out Will Venable to lead off the third, Saunders surrendered a single to left field off the bat of Rob Johnson – the only hit he allowed through the game’s first three innings.
Saunders was in cruise control through the middle frames. He notched yet another 1-2-3 inning in the fifth and kept the Padres scoreless despite a Logan Forsythe double in the sixth.
It was then when Saunders ran into some trouble in the seventh. After Will Venable’s RBI single, Gibson made a trip to the mound.
“He knows what I’m thinking,” Saunders said. “I don’t really have to say anything for him to know what I’m really thinking. Miggy piped up and said, ‘We got this, no problem.’”
Gibson did in fact stick with his starter, and Saunders rewarded him by escaping the inning on a fly out to right field.
The D-backs’ win on Saturday was their 74th of the season, and they remain atop the National League West Standings, thanks in part to a 2-run home run from Chris Young.
“It’s nice,” Saunders said. “For us, it’s about being consistent. If we do the little things – I know it sounds boring, but if we do the little things and put up zeroes, that’s our game. The bullpen’s been awesome. We’ve got some clutch hits. CY tonight was huge for us.”