Astros’ Greinke looks to shut down hot Padres bats

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T-shirts have been printed!

“Slam Diego.”

And there’s a version showing Mount Crushmore — with the faces of Fernando Tatis Jr., Wil Myers, Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer superimposed on a certain monument.

The San Diego Padres are on a roll unlike any other in franchise history — actually, unlike any other in major league history. On Thursday, the Padres became the first team ever to hit a grand slam in four consecutive games. After the streak was snapped Friday (Hosmer grounded out in the Padres’ only at-bat with the bases loaded), Jake Cronenworth hit a grand slam Saturday, making the Padres the only team in history with five grand slams in a six-game span.

The Padres are getting on base and homering. They have 54 homers in 29 games to tie for the major league lead. And they have won six straight games.

Now comes an even bigger test. On Sunday afternoon at Petco Park, the Padres face the Houston Astros’ Zack Greinke.

San Diego will send left-hander Adrian Morejon out against the right-handed Greinke as the Padres try to complete a sweep of the three-game series.

But history says it won’t be easy. Few pitchers have been tougher against the Padres over the years than Greinke — who at times has almost seemed dismissive of San Diego. There was, of course, that night in April of 2013 when Carlos Quentin, after being hit by a Greinke pitch, rushed the then-Dodger, with the pitcher suffering a fractured collarbone in the ensuing melee.

Greinke has a 13-3 career record against the Padres with a 2.37 ERA and a 0.918 WHIP in 25 starts. Against Greinke, the Padres have a career .202 batting average with a .244 on-base percentage and a .319 slugging percentage. Greinke has worked 163 1/3 innings against the Padres, allowing 43 runs on 118 hits and 32 walks with 161 strikeouts.

He’s been even tougher against the Padres at Petco Park, where he has a 6-3 record with a 2.24 ERA, a 0.907 WHIP and a .198 opponents batting average in 15 starts.

Greinke is old-school when it comes to pitching, a trait that sits well with Astros manager Dusty Baker.

“He’s more than competitive,” Baker said of Greinke last spring. “He wants to dominate. He is intense.”

Greinke is 1-0 this season with a 1.84 ERA in five starts with a 0.886 WHIP. The 36-year-old has allowed six runs on 22 hits and four walks with 25 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. He has yet to yield a home run this season.

Meanwhile, Morejon will be making his second start this season. The 21-year-old Cuban, who was ranked the Padres’ No. 8 prospect, was promoted from the team’s alternate camp last week and didn’t allow a hit over three innings in his first appearance of the season.

Although the Padres hit six home runs Saturday night in a 13-2 romp over the Astros, the night’s biggest achievement was probably turned in by starting pitcher Zach Davies, who went eight innings — resting a bullpen that had made 24 appearances in the previous five games.

Win or lose, the Padres will likely use at least three relievers Sunday because Morejon is not stretched out. Davies’ effort Saturday and a day off Monday following 17 straight games will give the Padres’ beleaguered and under-achieving bullpen some much-needed rest.

“Everything we saw tonight was exactly what we needed,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said of the Padres’ Saturday effort.

–Field Level Media

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