SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres hit the midpoint of the season at 41-40, a notable accomplishment for a team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2010.
Prized rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. and Eric Hosmer hit consecutive home runs in the sixth inning off Michael Wacha and the Padres beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 Friday night for their third straight win.
“We’re doing something good over here,” said Tatis, who has given the Padres a shot of adrenaline with his exciting overall play. “We just need to keep going and just try to keep winning.”
The Padres have hit 11 homers in their last three games. They hit nine in a two-game sweep at Baltimore on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tatis’ opposite-field shot to right with one out, his 10th, tied the game at 1. Hosmer followed four pitches later with a towering shot almost to the base of the batter’s eye in center field, his 13th. It was the fourth time this season the Padres hit consecutive homers.
Tatis joins Nomar Garciaparra (1997) as the only rookie shortstops in MLB history to have 10 or more home runs and 10 or more stolen bases in the first half of a season.
Tatis homered on the first pitch he saw from Wacha in the sixth.
“I’d been seeing what he was doing the entire game and just got smart,” he said, adding that the back-to-back shots “creates a good vibe.”
Hosmer said he “stayed on the offspeed pitch, drove it to the middle. Wacha wasn’t really missing over the plate and doing a good job of when he was missing just off the corners. We knew late in the game there if we got something out over the plate we couldn’t miss it.”
Said manager Andy Green: “It was a good fight from the guys. We didn’t have nearly as many base runners as them. We had two huge swings of the bat.”
Wacha (5-4) had thrown five innings of three-hit ball before Tatis and Hosmer connected. He had also driven in the game’s only run up to that point on an infield single in the fourth that originally was ruled an out before being overturned after the Cardinals challenged.
Tatis’ home run pitch “was just a cutter down and away,” Wacha said. “He just stayed on it really well and drove it to the opposite field and it got out of here. The Hosmer changeup was elevated a little bit too much and he didn’t miss that. Those two pitches, I wish I could have them back.”
Hosmer drove in another run on a groundout in the eighth.
Rookie Cal Quantrill (2-2) pitched two innings for the win. Kirby Yates came on with two on and two outs in the eighth for a four-out save, his 27th in 28 chances.
“A couple big swings of the bat for Hosmer and Tatis today completely changed the outlook of that game,” Quantrill said.
Yadier Molina had three hits for St. Louis, which lost its fourth straight.
San Diego starter Eric Lauer allowed one run and six hits on 98 pitches in four innings. He struck out three and walked one.
The Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs in the second and failed to score. Lauer leaped to snag Kolton Wong’s chopper and threw out Jose Martinez at home, although Wong beat catcher Austin Hedges’ throw to first. Wacha struck out and then Tommy Edman reached on what was initially ruled an RBI single but after a video review he was ruled out to end the inning.
Cardinals: Manager Mike Shildt said LF Marcell Ozuna is headed for the injured list after injuring the middle finger on his right hand when he dived back to first base while being picked off in the third. Shildt wouldn’t say if Ozuna has a fracture, only that the injury is significant enough to send him to the IL. Ozuna was replaced by Yairo Munoz.
Padres: Hunter Renfroe, originally scheduled to play LF and bat cleanup, was scratched from the lineup due to an illness. Franmil Reyes moved up one spot in the order and rookie Josh Naylor played LF and batted fifth.
Cardinals: RHP Dakota Hudson (6-3, 3.36) is scheduled to start Saturday night. He’s coming off a 4-2 against the Angels in which he matched his career high with seven innings.
Padres: Rookie RHP Chris Paddack (4-4, 3.18) is scheduled to make his 14th start. The Padres have lost each of his last four starts since May 29, a span in which he’s 0-2 with a 6.52 ERA.
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