SAN DIEGO (AP) — Fernando Tatis Jr. lofted a ball to right field, watched it just clear the wall and then raised his arms, almost in relief as much as celebration.
Tatis, who has driven a number of balls to the wall or the warning track at Petco Park this season, and Juan Soto hit consecutive home runs in the first inning, and the San Diego Padres beat San Francisco 7-3 on Friday night to drop the Giants into a tie with Arizona for the final NL wild card.
“I hit it and said, ‘I don’t know,'” Tatis said of his two-run shot. ”I don’t know, man. I hit balls 109, 108 (mph) to the warning track, and I’m just glad that one went out.
“Oh my God, it was amazing,” he said. “It’s baseball and you’ve got to keep grinding.”
San Francisco had won four of five coming in, including 7-2 in the opener of this series Thursday night. Arizona beat Baltimore 4-2.
Michael Wacha (11-2) held the Giants to two runs and six hits in six innings, with six strikeouts and two walks, to win his sixth straight decision. San Diego bounced back from a sloppy, lackluster performance Thursday night to win for just the second time in eight games.
The Padres entered the night 8 1/2 games out of the last wild-card spot and a season-high 11 games under .500. They’ve been a huge disappointment after reaching the NL Championship Series last fall and then increasing their payroll to about $250 million, the third-highest in the majors. They’ve been under .500 since May 12.
With Ha-Seong Kim aboard on a leadoff walk from Tristan Beck (3-3), Tatis lifted an opposite-field shot just over the right-field wall. It was his 21st of the year and first since Aug. 18 against Arizona, a span of 52 plate appearances. Soto followed with a shot into the shrubbery in front of the batter’s eye in straightaway center, his 26th.
“It’s big,” Tatis said. “It’s what we needed to do, especially after yesterday’s game, and bouncing back like that is just a good way to play baseball and also a good way of telling ourselves that we are capable of doing that.”
It was the seventh time the Padres went back-to-back this season and the first since doing it against Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels on July 4.
Manager Bob Melvin said it was important to have an impactful inning, especially after Wilmer Flores hit an impressive drive off Wacha in the first, and then have a bounce-back win.
“We had to, right? That hasn’t been the problem this year. We’ve bounced back quite a bit. That’s not the problem. It’s sustaining it afterward,” Melvin said.
Trent Grisham hit an RBI single in the second and Luis Campusano and Matthew Batten had consecutive RBI hits with two outs in the third.
Wacha’s only big mistake was allowing Flores’ home run into the top balcony of the brick warehouse in the left-field corner with one out in the first. It was his 20th. Brandon Crawford, activated off the injured list before the game, hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Wacha loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth before getting Wade Meckler to pop up. LaMonte Wade Jr. was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in a run in the ninth.
“A little uncomfortable with the pitch count, but I had to give him an opportunity to get out of that inning,” Melvin said of Wacha, who threw 108 pitches.
Beck lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing six runs and nine hits.
Jurickson Profar, who played with San Diego for three seasons before signing with Colorado in the offseason, signed a minor league deal with the Padres and is due to report to Triple-A El Paso. He was released by the Rockies last week.
Giants: Crawford had been on the 10-day injured list with a left forearm strain. The Giants also recalled RHP Keaton Winn from Triple-A Sacramento as rosters expanded.
Padres: Reinstated LHP Tim Hill (sprained left ring finger) from the 15-day injured list and recalled C Brett Sullivan from Triple-A El Paso.
Giants LHP Kyle Harrison (1-0, 1.86 ERA) and Padres LHP Blake Snell (11-9, 2.60), the big league ERA leader who is one of the leading contenders for the NL Cy Young Award, are scheduled to start Saturday night.