The Padres were faced with a deficit, a deluge and a delay on Thursday in New York. They overcame them all to take a series from a playoff contender and, perhaps, buy themselves a little more time as the trade deadline nears.
The Friars beat the Mets 8-7 to take two of three games at Citi Field. After six innings San Diego trailed 7-1. Starter Andrew Cashner, who has been the subject of trade talks with his home town Houston Astros, gave up seven runs (five earned) in 5.1 innings. It looked like the Padres were going to turn in another uninspired offensive performance.
Then the 7th inning happened.
The Padres loaded the bases on two hits and a walk, setting up catcher Derek Norris for some drama. Norris, who had not driven in a run since June 28, hammered a Hansel Robles pitch to left field for a grand slam that cut the Mets lead to 7-5. Norris went 5-for-5 on the day.
In the 9th inning Mets closer Jeurys Familia got the first two outs when a the skies unleashed a downpour that forced the officiating crew to stop play. After a 44 minute delay Familia went back out to try and finish what he started.
He was not the same pitcher. Norris and outfielder Matt Kemp both hit two-out singles, setting up outfielder Justin Upton to play the hero. Upton ripped a 3-run home run to right-center field, his team-leading 18th of the season, to put the Padres on top 8-7.
After another rain delay, this one nearly three hours long, Craig Kimbrel worked a perfect 9th inning to earn his 30th save of the season. Having won 10 of their last 14 games, the Padres are suddenly just four games under .500 and moving back in to playoff contention. It may be too late, however, to give General Manager A.J. Preller enough of a reason not to make a few deals before Friday's MLB trade deadline.