PEORIA — Eight different rookie league Padres scored a run and seven drove in at least one as the club topped the Guardians affiliate 12-7 in the desert Tuesday.
The night opened with Braden Nett on the mound for his first rehab appearance of the year. The 20-year-old, signed as an undrafted free agent last year, showed a lively fastball up to 97 in a clean inning with one strikeout.
Gabe Mosser, 27, followed the Missouri native to the mound and gave up just one unearned run in a planned two inning outing. The system veteran has been on IL since surgery last May, but should be ready to rejoin the Missions soon.
Lefty Luis Gutierrez, the planned bulk pitcher for the day, looked solid through his first three innings before hitting a wall in his final frame. Facing a lefty-heavy lineup, the 19-year-old leaned primarily on his fastball, which had nice run at 91-93 mph. He struck out four the first time through the order, allowing one run on a sacrifice fly by rehabbing slugger George Valera.
However, the Guardians opened the seventh with a line drive single and a hit-by-pitch. Gutierrez rallied back to get a pair of outs, but couldn’t escape. A single, error on a pickoff attempt, and double pushed across three runs before Gutierrez gave way to Francis Pena, who allowed one more inherited runner to come across.
Gutierrez, one of the headliners of the Padres’ 2019 international class, seems to have tamed the yips that have plagued him as a professional. While he now carries a 13.50 ERA through his first two outings, he’s posted 10 strikeouts against three walks over six innings.
Offensively, the league’s most productive lineup drew nine more walks and struck out 11 times. After the first seven games of the ACL, the club leads the circuit in both categories while scoring a league-best 70 runs.
The Padres strung together a pair of walks, three singles, and aggressive baserunning to plate three runs in the second, then scored four more on four more singles in the third inning to open up a big lead early.
After the Guardians closed the gap, the Padres pulled away with a four-run eighth inning, manufacturing runs with a pair of walks and an effective double-steal that allowed Braedon Karpathios to plate the final run. The 19-year-old outfielder, who, like Nett, took the relatively uncommon path of signing as an undrafted free agent out of junior college last year, led the offense with three hits. After limited action with the Storm earlier this year, Karpathios is 5-for-12 with six walks in his first four ACL games.
Middle infielders Alain Camou and Yendry Rojas each had a pair of hits on the night as well. Rojas, barreled the ball three times on the night including a loud double pulled into the right-center gap. The 18-year-old Cuban has gotten out of the gate slowly at the plate, but shows impressive actions at shortstop.