Padres vs Diamondbacks Most Unforgettable Moments
For MLB teams in the same division that typically play one another 19 times every year, it’s inevitable for two teams to share a lot of memorable moments. Even for teams like the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks that don’t share a long and bitter rivalry with one another, there have been plenty of intense moments and fantastic finishes over the years. Even some Padres vs Diamondbacks spring training games have produced some memorable moments. Any fan who gets their hands on Padres vs Diamondbacks tickets has a chance to witness something special. Let’s re-live some of those memories as we look back at some of the most unforgettable moments between the Padres and Diamondbacks.
Padres Seal NL West Crown
The Padres and Diamondbacks closed the 2006 season with a four-game series in Arizona. For the Diamondbacks, the games were rather meaningless, but the Padres were fighting for their playoff lives while neck and neck with the Dodgers. San Diego and Arizona split the first two games of the series, which kept the Padres in a tight race. However, a win in the penultimate game of the season clinched a playoff berth for San Diego. On the final day of the season, the Diamondbacks rallied late, only for the Padres to hold on for a 7-6 win. That win sealed the NL West Division title for San Diego. Unfortunately for the Padres, it’s still their most recent division title.
Pitchers Can Hit Too
Zack Greinke pitched a lot of great games for the Diamondbacks during his time in Arizona. But the highlight of his tenure with the Diamondbacks might have come in April 2019 when he hit two home runs against the Padres. Greinke blasted a three-run homer off San Diego starter Eric Lauer in the fourth inning, only to come back two innings later with a solo homer against reliever Adam Warren. Just for good measure, Greinke was also the winning pitcher in Arizona’s 8-5 triumph over the Padres. Those two home runs also helped him take home the Silver Slugger Award for National League pitchers in 2019 despite being traded to the American League in the middle of the season.
Walk-Off Grand Slam
The 1998 season was a special one for the San Diego Padres, who won the National League pennant for just the second time in franchise history. Early in the season, there was a moment that hinted that it would be a special year in San Diego. The Padres trailed the Diamondbacks 4-2 in the bottom of the 9th. With two outs and a runner on first, both Mark Sweeney and Quilvio Veras walked to load the bases. That was followed by Steve Finley hitting a walk-off grand slam off Felix Rodriguez to give the Padres a 6-4 comeback win over Arizona. Oddly enough, Finley joined the Diamondbacks in free agency the following winter and became one of their most important players over the next five seasons, helping them win the World Series in 2001.
Randy Johnson’s Milestone
Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson spent six seasons pitching for the Diamondbacks, tossing plenty of gems at the expense of the Padres. It seemed only fitting that San Diego would be a part of Johnson achieving something historic. During the 2004 season, San Diego’s third baseman Jeff Cirillo became the 4,000th strikeout victim in Johnson’s career. It wasn’t exactly a proud moment for the Padres. However, the longtime Arizona ace became just the fourth pitcher in baseball history to amass at least 4,000 strikeouts.
Members of the Diamondbacks and Padres will never forget the game in 2001 when their game was stopped by a pair of electrical explosions at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium. The two explosions cause a bank of lights to malfunction, so technically, the game had to be suspended because of darkness. The game was resumed the following day in the third inning. After Curt Schilling started the original game, Randy Johnson began the restart and pitched the seven remaining innings. In those seven innings, Johnson struck out 16 San Diego hitters. Since he was technically pitching in relief of Schilling, Johnson set a new MLB record for strikeouts in a relief appearance.
End on a High Note
The Padres and Diamondbacks closed out the 2019 season against one another. The game didn’t mean much in the standings, with both teams already eliminated from playoff contention. But both teams were happy to play for pride, and both teams got dominating performances from their pitching staff. The game remained tied until the bottom of the 9th inning when little-used Arizona outfielder Tim Locastro ended the game with a walk-off home run. For Locastro, it was his first career home run. Meanwhile, it gave the Diamondbacks a sweep of the series and allowed them to end the 2019 season on a five-game winning streak.
The Padres and Diamondbacks opened the 60-game 2020 season against one another. Without fans in attendance, players and coaches from both teams stood together before the game in a circle around the infield holding a long black ribbon that symbolized the Black Lives Matter movement. Similar moments took place throughout baseball on the opening day of the 2020 season and is a moment in Padres-Diamondbacks history that should be remembered for a long time to come.