Bats connect behind Stults in spring finale
Padres homer three times; left-hander allows one hit in four frames
SAN DIEGO -- Yonder Alonso's bases-clearing double highlighted a five-run San Diego third inning, as the Padres went on to top the Indians, 9-8, in Saturday's Spring Training finale for the two clubs.
The win gave the Padres a split of the two-game exhibition series at Fowler Park, the home of the University of San Diego Toreros.
A day after the Indians posted a 16-spot, left-hander Eric Stults held the Cleveland offense in check with four solid frames. Stults, the Padres' No. 4 starter entering the season, allowed just one hit and kept Indians hitters off-balance throughout his outing.
Meanwhile, Tribe right-hander Danny Salazar, who will start the Indians' home opener on Friday against Minnesota, struggled with his command. He gave up six runs (five earned) on seven hits and two walks in five innings.
The Padres got on the board when third baseman Chase Headley worked a walk with the bases loaded in the third. Headley added a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, capping an otherwise poor Spring Training at the plate with a solid offensive performance.
Two batters after Headley's walk in the third, Alonso cleared the bases with a double that hit the base of the wall in center field. Right fielder Xavier Nady, who before the game learned he had made the club's Opening Day roster, singled home Alonso on the next pitch, giving the Padres an early 5-0 lead.
Cleveland's Jason Kipnis answered with a solo shot in the top of the fourth inning -- the only hit off of Stults. It was a fitting end to a torrid spring for Kipnis, who hit .357 in the spring with a .462 on-base percentage and a .553 slugging percentage.
Cleveland left fielder Matt Carson launched a three-run homer in the sixth, cutting the deficit to one. Seth Smith smashed a two-run shot in the bottom of the inning, and the Padres added a run in the seventh, but the Indians again threatened with a three-run eighth, including a two-run homer by Carson.
San Diego will open its regular season Sunday night at Petco Park against the division-rival Dodgers. The Indians will remain in the Golden State, but they will head north to Oakland, where they will open the season on Monday against the A's.