Blowouts. Low-scoring games. 7-inning doubleheaders. Extra inning affairs. Big leads early. Late comebacks. The Padres have been winning them all.
They used a late home run and an 11th-inning blitzkrieg to beat the Astros 10-3 on Friday night, taking the opener of a 3-game series in Houston. The Friars have won 15 of their last 18 to improve on the best record in Major League Baseball.
In the regular nine innings offense was hard to find. Tommy Pham hit a solo home run in the 3rd inning to put the Padres up 1-0. In 2020 that might have been enough for Dinelson Lamet to get a win. He's not there yet in 2021.
The right-hander who finished 4th in the National League Cy Young Award balloting a year ago has been making slow strides coming back from an elbow injury. He threw three shutout innings then came out to start the 4th, making this his longest outing of the year.
Carlos Correa singled and Chas McCormick hit a 2-run homer to put Houston up 2-1 and chase Lamet. As it's done so many times this year, the San Diego bullpen was stellar.
Nick Ramirez, Austin Adams, Nabil Crismatt, and Tim Hill combined for 6.0 shutout innings, allowing just two more hits. They kept it close and eventually the bats broke through.
In the 8th inning Fernando Tatis Jr. demolished a solo home run to left field off Cristian Javier. It's the 14th of the year for Tatis and, as we've come to expect, he lit up the Padres dugout.
It went to the 10th inning tied 2-2. Pham started the inning on 2nd base and Manny Machado roped a double down the right field line to bring him home and put the Friars on top 3-2.
Mark Melancon, the closer who's converted all 17 of his save opportunities since joining the Friars bullpen, couldn't make it stand. Alex Bregman started on 2nd, advanced on a groundout, and scored on a sacrifice fly to shallow right field. Wil Myers had a chance to end it with a double play but his throw was well up the 1st base line, so it went to the 11th inning tied 3-3.
That's when the Padres bats went bonkers.
Ha-Seong Kim dropped a single to right field to bring in Jurickson Profar to make it 4-3. Pham followed with a single to right to score Victor Caratini for a 5-3 lead. Jake Cronenworth, mired in an 0-for-18 slump, snuck a hard ground ball through the drawn-in infield to plate Kim and then everything unraveled for the Astros.
Tatis hit a sacrifice fly to score Machado for a 7-3 lead. Myers followed with a 2-run double and Jurckson Profar finished the scoring with another RBI single to cap the scoring and a decisive 7-run 11th inning.
The Padres can win another series on Saturday when Yu Darvish gets the start against Jae Odorizzi.
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