Juan Soto homered twice, including his first career grand slam, and the San Diego Padres won their fourth straight game for the first time this season, beating the Oakland Athletics 10-1 on Sunday to sweep the series.
The Padres had been the only team in the major leagues this season to not have a win streak of over three games. Their success resulted in another dubious mark for the A’s, whose 103 losses this season are the most in franchise history since 1979.
For San Diego manager Bob Melvin, fighting off playoff elimination with a few weeks left in the season means needing more than just four wins in a row. The Padres are six games back in the NL wild card race with 12 games to play.
“We have to win them,” Melvin said. “It’s probably going to come down to that.”
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Soto hit a two-run drive in the seventh and the grand slam in the next inning to blow the game open and give him 32 homers on the year, two shy of his career-high set in 2019 with the Nationals.
“It feels great,” Soto said of his slam. “It was the first one, just get it out of the way.”
The 24-year-old star outfielder rebounded from a slow start to the season to make his third All-Star team. Soto talked to a lot of players when he was struggling, and they told him to keep playing and eventually the numbers would be there.
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“That’s what I did, and at the end of the day, look at where we’re at,” Soto said.
Both starting pitchers threw three scoreless innings before being replaced — Joe Boyle for the A’s and Nick Martinez for the Padres. Pedro Avila (2-2) recorded the win for the Padres after making his first relief appearance in nearly a month.
Boyle made his major league debut after being acquired by the A’s for reliever Sam Moll at the trade deadline. Boyle started the season in Double-A but quickly rose through the ranks, making three starts at Triple-A Las Vegas for the A’s before being called up. The 24-year-old had four strikeouts in three innings — including twice striking out Fernando Tatis Jr. looking.
A’s manager Mark Kotsay complimented Boyle for attacking the zone and said his breaking ball could be a key finishing pitch.
“We saw a kid come out with some confidence today,” Kotsay said.
But the Padres teed off on relievers for 13 hits.
Ken Waldichuk (3-8), who replaced Boyle in the fourth inning, immediately gave up three straight hits. Luis Campusano knocked in Manny Machado with an RBI single. An infield single later in the inning by Eguy Rosario put the Padres up 2-0.
Matthew Batten added to the Padres’ lead with a two-run single in the sixth.
Brent Rooker hit a solo homer in the eighth for the A’s lone run.
Sunday could have marked Padres manager Bob Melvin’s final game in Oakland as a manager, with the A’s planning to relocate to Las Vegas. Melvin, who helmed the A’s from 2011-21 and grew up in the Bay Area, circled this series on this calendar.
“It could be pretty sad in the fact that I might not be back here on the field,” said Melvin, while also noting that the A’s could extend their lease at the Coliseum as a ballpark in Las Vegas is built.
Melvin said the weekend was “great” for him, and that the sweep “makes it a lot better.”
Padres: 2B Ha-Seong Kim was held out of the lineup with abdominal pain. A scan ruled out appendicitis, according to Melvin, but he said Kim was not feeling better postgame and wasn’t completely sure of the issue. Kim had just returned on Saturday after turning his ankle on Friday night.
Athletics: LHP Sean Newcomb was placed on the 15-day injured list with a sprained knee, effectively ending his season. Boyle took his spot on the roster. … OF JJ Bleday, who suffered a left knee sprain on Aug. 13, is expected to run the bases this week and could see a rehab assignment.
Padres: Michael Wacha (11-4, 3.43 ERA) takes the mound when San Diego opens up a series at home against Colorado on Monday.
Athletics: JP Sears (5-11, 4.45 ERA) takes the mound in the opener of a three-game home series against Seattle.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb