Tucson Padres baseball
Padres trim locks into Mohawks, clip New Orleans 5-4
The Mohawk is back. At least in the Tucson Padres' clubhouse.
Over the past two months, many Padres have received different variations of the famous haircut from unofficial team barber Luis Moreno, the organization's assistant clubhouse manager.
In fact, that's how reliever Matt Buschmann celebrated his 1 2/3-inning scoreless outing on Wednesday after Tucson's 5-4 victory over the New Orleans Zephyrs: by jumping on the team bandwagon of radical haircuts. He chose the rat tail, which is a triangular Mohawk that points to the back of the head.
"Haircutting has always been a hobby of mine, and the team knows that," Moreno said.
"So one day, I gave a couple of the guys a haircut and they really liked it. So after that, a lot of the guys started coming to me for haircuts – You know, if they were in a slump or wanted to changeup their look. And right now, the Mohawk is working really well."
First baseman Anthony Rizzo was Moreno's first customer for a Mohawk, and Jeremy Hefner became the first pitcher on the team with one.
"The pitchers have only been getting the Mohawk for about a month," Moreno said. "I guess because the team hasn't been doing so well. And now it seems that they are getting on track, so I guess it's working for them."
Other players with a Mohawk include outfielder Aaron Cunningham and Logan Forsythe, a recent San Diego Padres call-up.
"The guys really seem to like my haircuts, and they just keep coming back for more," Moreno said. "Hefner, in particular, has been very loyal with the haircuts."
Moreno started snipping hair when he was 13 years old. He made his barber debut by giving fades for a family he knew when he was young.
"After that first haircut, I really started liking it and knew it was a talent of mine," Moreno said. "From then on, I started getting better and have been doing it ever since."
Very pleased with his brand new haircut, Buschmann said he thought his Mohawk was great.
Outside of hair matters, Tucson scored 5 runs in the bottom of the first on Wednesday and would not plate another the whole game. Their first-inning dent would be all of the offense the Padres needed, however, in their 5-4 win over New Orleans.
Tucson's early attack was highlighted by a 2-run home run by Bobby Kielty, who went 2-for-4 on the night.
"I was just trying to be aggressive and keep things simple up there tonight," Kielty said. "On my home run, he threw me a second-pitch changeup, and I was actually out in front of the ball but managed to just barely get it over."
Kielty's home run slipped just over the wall, slightly inside of the right-field foul pole.
After Padres starter Hefner went 5 1/3 innings on 4 runs, the bullpen posted zeros the rest of the game. Buschmann finished the sixth inning for Hefner and tossed a clean seventh.
"My main focus tonight was keeping the ball down," Buschmann said. "This is a hitter's league and a hitter's park, so it's important to stay low in the strikezone."
"My battle has always been consistency, and I think this year – more than any other year – I've learned how to be comfortable at this level. So now it's just about settling in and being consistent, and I think I was successful in that tonight."
Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless eighth, and closer Brad Brach sealed the deal by throwing a hitless ninth. The bullpen combined for 3 2/3 innings for 1 hit and 0 runs.
"I was able to throw my slider for strikes tonight," Brach said. "I had good command of my fastball and worked the slider well. That was how I was able to shut down those last three batters."
"I love being in the closer role. I've been a closer since 2009, and I've had a lot of success. I love being out there in the ninth inning."
The Padres' Wednesday game was the first of a four-game set against the Zephyrs. They continue their home stand Thursday at Kino Stadium at 7 p.m.