The reports of Fernando Tatis Jr.'s struggles are greatly exaggerated.
We can safely say a dismal start to the season that saw the Padres superstar shortstop hitting less than .150 and making nearly an error a game was an aberration. On Friday night at Dodger Stadium, Tatis ripped two home runs off future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw in a 6-1 win over the reigning world champions.
After dropping two of three to the Dodgers last weekend the Friars have won the first two games of their 4-game set in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers scored first against Padres starter Yu Darvish. Max Muncy's RBI single brought home Mookie Betts in the first inning to make it a 1-0 game. San Diego got that run right back.
Wil Myers led off the 2nd inning with a home run off Kershaw, his 4th of the year, that knotted it 1-1. Then the Tatis show began.
Actually, one could argue it started in the first inning. Back in the leadoff spot where he tends to excel, Tatis hit a laser right at Dodgers 3rd baseman Justin Turner, who couldn't handle the hot shot. The L.A. scorekeeper gave Turner an error but it could have easily been ruled a hit.
In the 3rd inning, Tatis put one where nobody could catch it. El Nino scorched a 431-foot bomb to the back of the pavilion in left field, not an easy thing to do in April at Dodger Stadium.
In his next at-bat, in the 5th inning, Tatis hit a bullet down the left field line that smashed off the facing of the 2nd deck, another no-doubter. In a bit of interesting history, it was on this date 22 years ago that Fernando Tatis Sr. became the only Major Leaguer in history to hit two grand slams in one inning. He did it playing for the Cardinals ... at Dodger Stadium.
Darvish took the cushion and ran with it, striking out the side in the 6th inning. He ran into a little bit of trouble in the 7th. A bunt single and a walk put the tying run on 1st base but Darvish punched out pinch-hitter Sheldon Neuse then got by with a little help from his friends.
Betts hit a screaming liner that looked like it was headed for left field but Manny Machado made a leaping grab to end the inning and the threat. Darvish tossed 7.0 innings of 1-run ball and struck out nine.
Drew Pomeranz threw a perfect 8th and San Diego padded the lead in the 9th on an RBI single by Tommy Pham, an RBI groundout by Jurickson Profar, and an RBI infield single by Tatis for his first 3-hit game of the year.
The Padres have won the first two games of the series. It's not too early to point out they now lead the season series with L.A. 4-3. On Saturday night Blake Snell and Trevor Bauer, a pair of Cy Young winners, get after each other again. The Padres won their last meeting on Sunday but neither starter figured in the decision.
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