As a rule, Bud Black doesn’t doubt his players. Yet off the bat, the Padres’ upbeat skipper wasn’t sure what sort of chance Alexi Amarista would have at catching Eduardo Escobar’s two-strike drive with the winning run standing on second base in the last of the ninth inning Wednesday afternoon. Positioning sure wasn’t on the diminutive utilityman’s side. “Off the bat? No,” Padres manager Bud Black said moments after Seth Smith’s 10th-inning homer lifted the Padres to a 5-4 win over the Twins on getaway day at Target Field. “Just ‘cause it was struck well and we had him shaded a little bit to left center and that ball was on the pull side. And then I saw Lexi’s route and you’re watching Lexi and watching the ball and in-flight you’re thinking maybe. … “You sort of visualize the positive when you’re in our dugout. … I saw maybe Lexi getting there, diving and reaching out to make a play.” And then he did. Amarista’s sprawling catch in right-center after a lengthy run left the winning run on the bases a half-inning after Everth Cabrera’s sacrifice fly to right tied the game for a second time. Smith drove in his second run of the day on his team-leading 12th homer to open the 10th, new closer Joaquin Benoit stranded two runners to save his fourth game and the Padres won for the 11th time in 18 games following a post-All-Star break run filled with all sorts of change. One more is official now: Ranger Assistant General Manager A.J. Preller has been named the replacement for former GM Josh Byrnes, who was dismissed in late June following his offense’s historic no-show throughout the first half of the season. A cloud of uncertainty lifted, the organization can now move forward. The players, of course, already had. “That stuff’s so far removed from us that it honestly has no bearing on us,” Smith said. “I’m sure there’s some business with some guys that can’t get done because of not having a GM, but other than that, the team as a whole is not affected at all.” Smith’s business sure hasn’t been – on or off the field.
Amarista, Smith save Padres' win over Twins
San Diego Union-Tribune | Aug 7