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Posted Apr 6, 2012, 9:02 am
Minor league baseball made its 2012 debut in Tucson on Thursday night with the Fresno Grizzlies holding the Tucson Padres scoreless.
The final tally was 3-0 for Fresno with a run in the first inning and two more in the sixth. The atmosphere was festive in spite of the loss, as 5,681 fans turned out to enjoy the perfect April weather.
Thursday night's large crowd at Kino Stadium was surely helped by the confluence of spring break and Thirsty Thursday, one of the more popular promotions at the park. Many families were in attendance and seemed to be reveling in pleasant weather that won't last through the minor league season.
As the sun set over the park, Tina Martin, a volunteer with the nonprofit Tucson Troop Support, got the game under way by throwing the ceremonial first pitch.
From the top of the season opener, Fresno settled in and looked to put on a good show. Leadoff hitter Tyler Graham got a single and was immediately followed by Francisco Peguero, who also singled. Peguero was forced out at second when Fresno shortstop Beamer Weems grounded the ball towards Padres first baseman Matt Clark, but Tucson were unable to get the double play.
Eventually, Grizzlies second baseman Charlie Culberson was able to drive Tyler Graham home, giving Fresno a 1-0 lead entering the bottom half of the first inning.
Tucson were unable to threaten Grizzlies pitcher Ryan Vogelsong in the following innings.
Tucson pitcher Joe Wieland seemed to find his nerve in the second inning and was doing well until the sixth, when he gave up two more runs.
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That gave Wieland an early shower and the Padres called on their bullpen, which did the job, giving up no more runs in the following 3 & 1/3 innings. But the T-Pads couldn't conjure up any runs in the remaining third of the game and will have to wait for another day to get their first runs of the season.
The Padres have three more games against Fresno at Kino and then play host to Sacramento for four nights before heading off to Salt Lake City for the first road trip of the season. Friday night's game gets under way at 7:05 p.m., with the Padres hoping to level the series with the Grizzlies.