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Andres Munoz started Thursday night replacing Kirby Yates, and finished it with his own place in San Diego Padres history.
The 20-year-old reliever was asked to close Thursday’s game against the San Francisco Giants, as regular closer Yates was given the night off after blowing his last save opportunity.
Munoz did allow a run and a walk, but struck out two Giants hitters to hand the Padres the win. It was his first career save in his brief career—which also made him the youngest person to save a game for the Friars.
The previous benchmark was set by Lance McCullers during his rookie season in 1985.
Almost immediately, talk began about Andres Munoz succeeding Kirby Yates as the next Padres closer, but manager Andy Green was quick to point out that the young man is still very early on in his career.
“There’s a lot of work for [Munoz] to be in that spot over and over again,” Green told reporters after the game, according to MLB.com. “We’re very encouraged with what we’ve seen early in his career and the way he’s handled every challenge given to him.
“He’s doing everything to check every box right now,” he continued. “[We’re] just going to let him take it an outing at a time right now, but he’s on the right path.”
No one wants to jump too far ahead, especially since the performance showed room for some improvement with the one run he allowed, and it’s just his debut in the closer role. But Munoz has some speed—his fastball tops out at 102 MPH—and he delivered when the team needed him to, helping to snap a losing streak.
Munoz has appeared in 18 games for the San Diego Padres, and has a 1-1 record with six holds and now, one very important save.