Mat Latos returned to San Diego last night and was brilliant for his new team, the Reds. He pitched seven shutout innings and did everything in his power to win the game for Cincinnati and keep pace with the surging first place Pittsburgh Pirates.
But the Reds did not win.
As I predicted in my previous article, the Padres are well on their way to being the great spoiler of the National League in the second half of the season. And who were some of the heroes of the Padres' come-from-behind victory?
Edinson Volquez was outstanding starting for the Padres. He went seven innings, letting up a single run and striking out 10. Yonder Alonso got on base four times with two hits and two walks, including an intentional pass in the bottom of the ninth. And Yasmani Grandal led off the bottom of the ninth with a double and scored the game-ending run.
And how did the Padres acquire Volquez, Alonso and Grandal? They all came over in the Mat Latos trade with Cincinnati. For this day, the Padres trade worked to perfection.
Sure, they gave up a quality arm, but they got the arm and a few bats back. Throw in Everth Cabrera's walk-off hit, Logan Forsythe's game-tying homer and Cameron Maybin's ninth-inning infield single and you see a team that is on a six-game winning streak on the backs of players 25 years old or younger.
The winning pitcher of the game, Huston Street, must feel like an elder statesman at age 28.
With the Padres winning but not contending, Volquez has been rumored to be a trade chip for a contender. If San Diego could work out a Volquez deal as successfully as they orchestrated the Mat Latos trade, the Padres might be the team to beat in 2013.
Take San Diego lightly at your own peril.