Chase Field – Phoenix, AZ
In a move intended to shake up the San Diego Padres’ three-game losing streak highlighted by a stagnant offense, manager Jayce Tingler moved star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. to the number three spot in the lineup. Tingler also shifted Tatis to DH from his normal shortstop position, and it paid immediate dividends.
Tatis blasted his ninth home run of the season in the first inning, giving the Padres and starting pitcher Cal Quantrill an early 1-0 lead against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The home run put Tatis into a tie for the league lead with New York Yankees’ outfielder Aaron Judge and Anaheim Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout.
After the Tatis’ home run, however, the Padres offense struggled for most of the game, seeing the Padres go down 7-1 after seven innings. An eighth-inning 433-foot, a two-run home run from Eric Hosmer jumpstarted the Padres offense back to life, bringing the Padres within four, 7-3. After back to back doubles by Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. saw the Padres pull within two, 7-5, Greg Garcia followed with an RBI single to plate Tatis, bringing the Padres within a run at 7-6.
Then craziness ensued with Jurickson Profar at the plate with two outs and pinch-runner Jorge Mateo on first for Greg Garcia. Profar laced a single to right-center, which sent Mateo galloping around the bases trying to score from first. Looking to tie the game, Mateo took a chance on going home but was thrown out at the plate to the end of the game. Whether it was the right call to go home or not, it was a close play at home that needed a perfect throw to the catcher for the D-backs to hold on to a 7-6 hard-fought win over San Diego.
Quantrill, making his first start of the season, was consistently hitting 96 mph with his fastball and went 3.2 innings while giving up one ER and striking out five.
Pierce Johnson, coming in with a 1.23 ERA for the Padres, entered in the sixth inning after Matt Strahm pitched a scoreless inning and a third. Johnson quickly loaded the bases with no outs and gave up a 2-run double to give the D-backs a 3-1 lead, which was then extended to 5-1 after Craig Stammen replaced Johnson and gave up two more runs that were charged to Johnson.
After falling behind 7-1 heading into the eighth, Tatis drew a walk with one out, which was followed by the Hosmer home run that was a no-doubter to right-center, his third of the season. A few more walks by Padres’ hitters brought up Francisco Mejia to face Arizona closer Archie Bradley with two outs and two on with a chance to bring the Padres back into the game. Mejia couldn’t continue the rally, popping out to the catcher to end the seventh.
The eighth inning was the start of the excitement for the Padres side of things, seeing Hosmer’s long home run score two runs also seemed to open up the lifeline for the team. The ninth inning saw Machado slap a double to right, which was followed by Tatis’ ground-rule double to right-center, which scored Tatis and Edward Olivares, who had gotten on before Machado with a single. That cut the lead to two, which then dwindled to one on the Garcia single, which scored Tatis.
The play at the plate, which secured the Diamondbacks (10-11) victory, was a tough way to end the game for the Padres, who had clawed their way back, just falling short. The loss for the Padres is their fourth in a row, dropping the team to .500, 11-11.
The Padres look to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks tomorrow afternoon in Phoenix at 1:10 PM. Garrett Richards (1-1, 3.74 ERA) faces struggling Diamondbacks’ starter Robbie Ray (1-2, 10.59 ERA).
Notes: Tommy Pham replaced Tatis in the leadoff spot, but left the game in the bottom of the second with cramping in both calves and was replaced by rookie Edward Olivares. Wil Myers also left the game with back tightness after going 1-2 with a double.
Kevin is a San Diego Native covering the San Diego Padres and their affiliates