Petco Park – San Diego, California
Baseball is certainly a team sport. So many different Padres have shown up all year, contributing to that 46-32 record. With that being said, this team needed their star to put the team on his back tonight, and Fernando Tatis Jr. was up for the challenge.
The Arizona Diamondbacks came into this game having dropped 23, yes, 23 straight road games, and the beginning of this game was a glaring example of why. Starting pitcher Corbin Martin entered the contest with an 8.62 ERA, with opponents batting .308 against him. Those numbers would rise on Friday night after back-to-back home runs to lead-off the game by Tommy Pham and Fernando Tatis Jr. It was the sixth time this season the Friars have had a lead-off home run.
Martin simply did not have it and then proceeded to load the bases from two walks and a single. Two of those runners would score via sacrifice flies from Wil Myers and Victor Caratini as Martin was pulled after recording only one out and giving up four earned runs in the first inning.
The Padres continued the offensive explosion in the bottom half with another set of back-to-back dingers by Fernando Tatis Jr. and Jake Cronenworth. Cronenworth has now hit a home run in four straight games, the longest streak by any player in the MLB this season.
And as far as Tatis Jr., he’s not quite done yet.
Despite the firepower at the plate, Chris Paddack’s night did not get any better as he gave up two more runs in the third before he got the heave-ho after throwing two ⅓ innings, giving up eight hits and five earned runs. It is a disappointing outing, to say the least, for Paddack, who had looked so sharp with an impressive 2.36 ERA in his last six starts. The problem was clearly the changeup as it was catching way too much of the plate, and the command was just not there as D’backs hitters were feasting on it.
“He didn’t have it,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said regarding Chris Paddack. “His changeup was firm and didn’t have the drop to it. The fastball didn’t have the ride or carry to it, and they were fouling it off. Usually, he’s getting a swing and miss on those.
After Tommy Pham was plunked in the arm by Diamondbacks pitcher Riley Smith, Fernando Tatis Jr. stepped up to the plate for his third at-bat of the game in the fourth inning and drove a fastball to center field for his THIRD home run of the game and 25th on the season and extending the Friar lead to 8-to-5. Tatis Jr. joins Christian Villanueva and Hunter Renfroe as the only Padres players to hit three home runs in a game at Petco Park. This special player had an exceptional night as he finished the game 4-for-5 with five RBIs and 13 total bases.
An exuberated Tatis Jr. was asked in the postgame interview whether he was thinking home run in his last two at-bats: “Definitely,” Tatis Jr. said through a smile. “As a baseball player, you are almost never satisfied, but we kept it simple, and I put two good swings on the ball. It didn’t go out, that’s okay. I already have three. I cannot get mad about that.” It really feels like this kid is playing on rookie mode on nights like this.
The first three-HR game in @tatis_jr's career.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) June 26, 2021
Jayce Tingler seemed almost speechless when talking about Fernando Tatis Jr.: “I don’t know how to explain it because nothing really surprises you, and that’s to speak of his talent. When he’s under control and stays within himself, he really lets his talent play.”
An 8-to-5 Padres lead extended in the seventh inning courtesy of an RBI single by Eric Hosmer and an RBI double by Trent Grisham, giving the Padres double-digit runs, a feat they have accomplished seven different times in 2021. Better late than never, Manny Machado also got in on the scoring frenzy with an RBI single, bringing the lead to 11-to-5.
The bullpen was also impressive in the win as a rough outing by Paddack was backed up by six ⅔ shutout innings by a litany of bullpen arms including Nick Ramirez, Miguel Diaz, Tim Hill, Austin Adams, Craig Stammen, and closed out by rookie Mason Thompson in the ninth inning as the Padres take down the Diamondbacks 11-5. The Friars boast an MLB-best 3.04 bullpen ERA, and their talents were on display.
The Padres have now won eight straight games and have taken five out of seven from Arizona this season. As for the Diamondbacks, this is their 24th consecutive road loss which extends an MLB record. These two squads will face off Saturday night as Merrill Kelly (3-7, 5.06 ERA) will take the mound for the Diamondbacks against Dinelson Lamet (2-2, 2.81 ERA) for the Padres.