We have discovered that the San Diego Padres are a very much not good team. Have we discovered that the Braves might be good? Probably not, but I think it is fair to say that they meet the Gus Czinski standard: “We don’t suck.”
Frequently, an endeavor meets a critical moment. A point when success can be complete, or struggle can continue. Eventually, we got to that point last night; but first, the preliminaries.
Jaime Garcia started off rough with 3 straight hits, then rocked along nicely until the 7th. Jose Ramirez took over and finished that one.
The hitter of the night overall was the big cheese, the one in charge. You know him as Freddie Freeman, but I will call him Major John Howard. Major Howard hit 2 home runs and 2 doubles. At end of 7, Braves 3, Padres 2.
Then Arodys Vizcaino had an uncharacteristic appearance. After 2 strikeouts, he kind of had a meltdown. So, we can compare him to Wally Parr. Clearing the fixed gun emplacement, but then pushing the electric trigger, causing a shell to fire, and hitting a nearby hospital. Arodys then gave up walk, home run (which put the Padres in front by a run), his own throwing error (on a tough play) and another walk. Luke Jackson came in and finished the inning up.
Major Howard came back to tie it in the bottom of the 8th. His second home run. Brian Snitker went with Jim Johnson in the “non save situation” and he was good.
So, in the bottom of the 9th, Adonis Garcia out, Kurt Suzuki single, Anthony Recker out. Not exactly the start of a rally. D’Arnaud had come in to run for Suzuki. then Emiliano Bonifacio hit a double (who knew?). The Padres walked the ever dangerous slugger Ender Inciarte to load the bases. Now, “the kid” faced his challenge (Dansby Swanson). In this moment, did the kid show the fortitude of Sergeant Charles “Wagger” Thornton. One of 5 P(rojector), I(nfantry), A(nti), T(ank) guns was operational after the gliders crash landed just after midnight on June 6, 1944. Thornton was assigned the task of taking that forward to prevent a tank counterattack. A PIAT was effective against a tank according to the “book” at 100 yards, but no fool who had ever used one would trust it at more than 50 yards. And, within a few minutes of Thornton hiding behind the low stone wall at the front of the Café Gondree, what probably were some old French model tanks (Thorton said it was a German Mark IV) turned toward the bridges. Thornton would get one shot. So, at 50 yards, he hit the lead tank. It exploded over and over for in excess of an hour. The remaining tanks pulled back to wait for reinforcements. Steven Ambrose has called this “the most important shot, in the most important engagement, in the most important battle, in the most important war, in the history of the world.”
Well, our Thornton didn’t do anything quite that important, but his walk off single was a big step forward for him and his club.