SAN DIEGO — Yes, Eric Hosmer, the San Diego Padres' three-hole hitter in the midst of his best campaign to date in San Diego, really squared to bunt with two strikes in the top of the first inning Monday night. Whether Kyle Freeland's 94 mph sinker really struck Hosmer's left index finger was not in question when the Padres first baseman walked into the clubhouse with a team trainer moments later.
Hosmer did not return to the field, and manager Jayce Tingler said after the game the veteran first baseman fractured the finger. It wasn't immediately known how long he would be sidelined.
It was a cloud that hung over a 1-0 win that Jurickson Profar walked off with a ninth-inning double to support perhaps Dinelson Lamet's best start yet.
The 28-year-old Dominican struck out 11 while throwing a career-high 7 2/3 shutout innings. But the game was scoreless until pinch-hitter Greg Garcia led off the ninth with a single and pinch-runner Jorge Mateo scored from first when Profar doubled into the right-field corner.
The Padres, of course, suffered a loss before getting out of the first inning when Hosmer squared to beat a shift with a bunt on a 1-and-2 offering from Freeland. But the pitch tailed in and appeared to catch both Hosmer's bat and the fingers on his left hand as he tried to pull back. The bunted ball bounced into foul territory for a strikeout and a team trainer tended to Hosmer on the field before disappearing into the clubhouse with him.
A half-inning later, Mitch Moreland — acquired last month from the Boston Red Sox — replaced Hosmer at first base.
Hosmer watched much of the rest of the game from the top step of the dugout with what looked like a splint on his left index finger.
A lengthy absence would be much more noticeable than perhaps a year ago.
Despite an earlier stay on the injured list, the 30-year-old Hosmer entered the week with eight homers, 32 RBIs and a .547 slugging percentage that dwarfed his numbers during his first two years in San Diego (.412).
Only Fernando Tatis Jr. (39) and Manny Machado (35) had driven in more runs.
Of course, the 35-year-old Moreland would have been an ideal target had General Manager A.J. Preller known he might again be without his $144 million first baseman for any period of time during this postseason push.
The left-handed-hitting Moreland was hitting .328/.430/.746 with eight homers and 21 RBIs in 22 games with the Red Sox when Preller flipped prospects Hudson Potts and Jeisson Rosario to Boston for what was viewed as a designated hitter against right-handed pitching.
Moreland had given way to rookie Jorge Ona as the designated hitter with a lefty on the mound Monday night and only had 13 plate appearances against left-handers this year when Hosmer's exit forced him into Monday's game.
Hosmer's replacement proceeded to go hitless the rest of the night, continuing a rough start to his stay with the Padres (2-for-19), including a strikeout to end the fifth inning after Tatis had walked, swiped second and moved to third on catcher Tony Wolters' throwing error.
That was the only time the Padres placed a runner on third base against Freeland, who struck out six over six shutout innings.
The Padres loaded the bases the next inning against Yency Almonte but Machado lined into an inning-ending double play when Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado snagged the ball off the bat and threw to first to get Tatis. Replay officials in New York overturned the safe call on the field, forcing Lamet to climb the mound in the top of the eighth in a scoreless game.
He was still going strong too, striking out the first two hitters before pinch-hitter Matt Kemp's two-out single chased Lamet from the game.
Lamet had walked at least one batter each of the previous three times he pitched at least seven innings. He did not issue any free passes on Monday, threw 71 of his career-high 111 pitches for strikes and scattered five hits, with the last stranded at first base when left-hander Tim Hill got Raimel Tapia to fly out to center to end the eighth. Drew Pomeranz pitched a scoreless ninth.
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