SAN DIEGO (AP) — Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a 431-foot home run into the second deck in left field on his bobblehead night and Pedro Avila combined with two relievers on a three-hitter to earn his first big league victory as the San Diego Padres beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-0 on Tuesday night.
Tatis’ 23rd homer opened the three-run fourth and the Padres added four more in the sixth against Michael Lorenzen (8-9). That was more than enough for Avila (1-2), who has 14 appearances in parts of four big league seasons, including 10 this year. Making his fourth start of the season, he held the Phillies, who hold the NL’s top wild card spot, to two hits in 6 2/3 innings while walking six and striking out one. He relied on his two-seamer to get groundball outs.
“It feels great. It feels excellent. It cost a little bit of time but it feels good to be here now,” Avila said through an interpreter.
Manager Bob Melvin clapped a few times as he approached the mound to remove Avila after he walked Brandon Marsh with two outs in the seventh, and the 26-year-old rookie raised his arms to the sky and blew a kiss toward the stands as he headed to the dugout to a standing ovation from the crowd of 42,970. Avila underwent Tommy John surgery on Sept. 14, 2019, and didn’t pitch in 2020.
“Honestly, I don’t know if I ever expected that type of reception,” Avila said. “That’s something you kind of hope for and dream for and to be honest, I almost cried.”
Padres starters Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish are currently on the injured list.
Xander Bogaerts had four hits and scored three times, and Luis Campusano drove in three runs.
Tatis has three homers in his last five games after hitting just three in his previous 20 games. His leadoff shot started the scoring for the Padres, who added two runs on Campusano’s fielder’s choice followed by a error on second baseman Bryson Stott’s wild throw home trying to get Manny Machado.
Tatis has been frustrated several times this year with balls that went to the warning track or the wall but has been driving homers with authority recently.
“I should do that more often, then, right?” Tatis said. “Just better swings, better at-bats. Every time I go out there it’s a little bit more of what I’ve missed over the last almost three years. I’m just trying to be the best as possible.”
The Padres saw their first six batters reach in the four-run sixth, starting with Tatis’ leadoff walk. Bogaerts hit an RBI single, Campusano drove in two runs on a base hit and Matthew Batten had an RBI grounder.
Lorenzen allowed seven runs, six earned, on eight hits in six innings.
With Trea Turner on the paternity list, Edmundo Sosa started at shortstop and made a spectacular leaping catch of Ha-Seong Kim’s liner to end the third with a runner on second base.
The bobbleheads handed out Tuesday night apparently were the ones originally slated to be given away last Sept. 7, but that promotion was changed to a Juan Soto shirt giveaway not quite a month after Tatis was handed an 80-game PED suspension. The bobbleheads depict Tatis in adidas cleats and with blond-tipped dreadlocks. Adidas ended its relationship with Tatis two weeks after the suspension was announced on Aug. 12, 2022, and Tatis’ dreads haven’t been blond-tipped most of this season.
Rodeo cowboys Rocker Steiner and Stetson Wright threw the ceremonial first pitches. The Padres announced Tuesday that the inaugural San Diego Rodeo will be held Jan. 12-14 at Petco Park. Petco Park, which opened in 2004, has hosted other sports events including a Davis Cup first-round match between the United States and Britain, a basketball game between San Diego State and San Diego, soccer matches, rugby, Supercross and is the home of the Holiday Bowl.