Fernando Tatis Jr. leads Padres to series win over Dodgers

Credit: Padres Instagram

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Credit: Padres Instagram

On the final day before Kirby Yates is set to head to Cleveland for the All-Star Game, the youngest player on the team showcased the abilities that belong in the All-Star Game.

Fernando Tatis Jr. clubbed two home runs and became the youngest player to have a multi-home run game in a San Diego Padres jersey in the process. He also made a diving stop at shortstop in the second inning to rob Austin Barnes of a base hit. The efforts of the shortstop, along with a solid outing from Joey Lucchesi ensured a .500 record in the first half for the Padres with a 5-3 win.

Tatis started the game off with a bang as he took Los Angeles starter Ross Stripling deep to center field on a 2-2 fastball. An inning later, Manuel Margot hit a line drive to center field that narrowly avoided the glove of a leaping Alex Verdugo and went over the fence for Margot’s fifth home run of the season. With home runs in back-to-back games, Margot has now homered in consecutive games for the first time since last June.

Stifling the Dodgers offense was Lucchesi, the pitcher who was a career 0-3 with a 7.64 ERA against Los Angeles heading into today’s game. His performance certainly didn’t match up with his career numbers as the funky left-hander induced six fly balls and six ground outs while striking out four batters over 6.1 innings. A Max Muncy solo home run was the only blemish on Luchessi until the seventh inning.

With the three home runs, the game stayed at 2-1 in favor of the Padres until the fifth inning. A Margot single and an Austin Hedges “double” on a pop up that deflected off of Muncy’s head after the first baseman failed to locate the ball put Friars on second and third. With Tatis stepping up to the plate, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts signaled for Pedro Baez to enter the game in a double switch, taking Stripling out of the game despite the latter pitching only 71 pitches in the game. The move for a relief pitcher didn’t work in the way Roberts intended as Tatis took a belt-high fastball and yanked it into the left-field corner for a three-run dinger.

With a 5-1 advantage, all San Diego had to do was fend off the Dodgers offense to take the win. Los Angeles finally broke the Lucchesi code after Justin Turner swatted a sixth-inning home run to make the score 5-2. A ground-rule double followed by a Verdugo RBI single chased Lucchesi from the game in the seventh inning, but Trey Wingenter cut off the bleeding to keep the Dodgers at three runs.

A clean eighth inning paved the way for Yates in the ninth inning and the Hawaiian closer pitched a 1-2-3 inning to register his Major League-leading 30th save of the year and secure the 5-3 win. An interesting fun fact, Yates has more saves than the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers have wins (27 and 28, respectively).

San Diego heads into the All-Star break at an even 45-45. This was the first time since September of 2004 that the Padres won a four-game series at Dodger Stadium.

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