OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The celebratory San Diego Padres pushed José Azocar through the clubhouse in a laundry cart while squirting honey in his curly hair after he finally hit his first home run.
Manager Bob Melvin took it in far differently in the quiet of his office, relieved to have the nerves behind him dealing with the emotions of his return to Oakland.
Fernando Tatis Jr. homered in the first, added a two-run single in the second and set a career high for hits while playing in his 400th career game, leading the Padres past the Athletics 8-3 on Friday night when they all wanted to win for Melvin.
Azocar hit a three-run shot in the ninth for his first career home run, in his 269th at-bat.
The A’s showed a video tribute after the first inning for Melvin, their winningest manager who spent nearly 11 seasons guiding the A’s before departing to manage the Padres after the 2021 season. He hadn’t been back for nearly two years.
“Obviously very appreciative,” Melvin said. “It gets a little bit surreal. You don’t expect something like that.”
Tatis surpassed his previous career best of 135 hits from 2021. He also joined Juan Soto and Manny Machado with at least 25 home runs — becoming the third trio in San Diego history to do so in a single season. They join the 2001 Padres of Phil Nevin, Ryan Klesko and Bubba Trammell and the 2019 group of Hunter Renfroe, Machado and Franmil Reyes.
Seth Lugo (7-7) allowed three runs on five hits, struck out seven and walked one over six innings, surrendering a second-inning homer to Shea Langeliers and an RBI double to Ryan Noda in the third. Brent Rooker hit his 25th home run in the sixth.
“Getting him that W, that’s really nice for him, he’s been around a long time and done a lot for this sport so I’m happy for him,” Lugo said about his skipper.
A’s starter Sean Newcomb (1-1) threw a wild pitch in the first that allowed Juan Soto to score and was done after three innings tagged for four runs on five hits.
Noda was ejected in the eighth by plate umpire Dan Iassogna for arguing the strike zone. Oakland (46-101) is one loss away from matching last year’s total.
The A’s began their final homestand of the year spanning 10 games before finishing at Minnesota and in Anaheim against the Angels.
Langeliers hit his career-best 20th home run and became the first A’s catcher with 20 since Ramón Hernández had 21 in 2003.
Padres: Ha-Seong Kim was checked on at second base after a sixth-inning steal but was OK to stay in the game despite turning his ankle. Melvin hoped he could play Saturday. … INF/DH Ji-Man Choi came off the 10-day injured list from a left ribcage strain and following a seven-game rehab stint with Triple-A El Paso. … The Padres placed DH/INF Matt Carpenter on the IL with inflammation in his right elbow.
Athletics: OF JJ Bleday, sidelined since Aug. 14 with a sprained left knee, hit live batting practice for the first time — and he did so against rehabbing RHP Austin Pruitt (strained pitching forearm). “The goal is to get him back and to finish the season here with us,” manager Mark Kotsay said about Bleday.