What has been largely missing for the Padres during their recent stretch of ineptitude is the offense that has the pieces to be one of the most potent in Major League Baseball. For a week and a half they didn't really do any of these three things:
Hit the ball out of the ballpark, work pitchers into deep counts, or get hits in the rare instances they did get runners on base.
They did all of that on Wednesday night, scoring nine runs against the Giants, but even bad offenses can have a good day every now and then. So, when they repeated that in a 7-4 win to split the series in San Francisco, it provided legitimate hope that this team that's been sleepwalking through far too much of the season may finally be waking up.
The Friars got on the board in the 2nd inning on a Trent Grisham sacrifice fly with the bases loaded, an improvement for a team that's left more runners in scoring position than all but three teams in baseball this year. An inning later they got the long ball, and you won't be surprised at who hit it.
Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a laser over the left field wall off All-Star Kevin Gausman. The solo homer was number 39 on the season for Tatis. His next dinger will make him the 5th player in Padres history to have a 40-home run season (joining Greg Vaughn, Phil Nevin, Ken Caminiti and Adrian Gonzalez). In a testament to their going back to making pitchers work Gausman, usually one of the game's more efficient starters, needed 100 pitches to get through 5.0 innings.
In the 5th inning they started the timely hitting. Jurickson Profar and Tatis hit back-to-back singles and scored on a 2-out double by Tommy Pham to make it a 4-0 game. The Giants got a couple back to make it 4-2 but in the 8th inning San Diego pulled out of reach with another big inning.
Austin Nola and Grisham both singled then Nola scored on a pinch-hit double by Wil Myers to make it 5-2. The Giants walked Tatis Jr. to load the bases with two outs for Manny Machado. It wasn't Slam Diego but it was enough.
Machado dumped one into right-centerfield for a 2-run single, the Padres 14th hit of the afternoon, to pump the lead up to 7-2.
On the mound the Padres went with another bullpen day and this time it worked out. Pierce Johnson threw the first inning and punched out two. He gave way to Nabil Crismatt, who has been a savior for the Friars relief corps on multiple occasions this year. Crismatt threw 4.0 innings of shutout ball and was credited with the win.
Austin Adams gave up the Giants first run on a wild pitch in the 6th inning that scored Kris Bryant (although, to his credit, he didn't hit anyone this time). San Francisco got one more run in the 7th, 8th and 9th but by that time it was too late.
This weekend will most likely decided San Diego's playoff fate. The Friars start a 3-game set in St. Louis sitting a half game behind the Cardinals for the 2nd and final National League Wild Card spot. Newly acquired Vince Velasquez makes his Padres debut on Friday night against Miles Mikolas.
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