SAN DIEGO (AP)Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres are having a grand-slamming good time.
Machado left no doubt when he squared up on a full-count, 94 mph sinker from Rafael Montero with one out in the 10th inning, driving it off the facade of the upper deck in left-center field to give the Padres a 6-3 win against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.
Machado took a few steps while admiring the drive, tossed his bat aside, thumped his chest three times while looking at the Padres’ dugout and then started his trot. He was welcomed with a wild celebration at the plate.
It was Machado’s 11th career grand slam and sixth walkoff homer. The Padres have hit a grand slam in three straight games for the first time ever, all against the Rangers.
”We’re doing special things here and we’re going to continue to do that,” Machado said. ”We’re having a lot of fun doing it. We have a special group of guys.”
Fernando Tatis Jr., who hit his MLB-leading 12th homer earlier, drew a nine-pitch walk off Montero to load the bases ahead of Machado, who hit his sixth homer of the season.
Also aboard were Jurickson Profar, who started the inning on second base, and Trent Grisham, who walked after pinch-hitter Greg Garcia sacrificed Profar.
”The pitcher on the mound is the one in trouble and he has to come to you, so you’re just waiting there just trying to get a pitch you can handle,” Machado said about his eight-pitch at-bat. ”Honestly, you’re just trying to get a pitch just to get one run, so you’re trying to hit a fly ball in that situation. Getting late into the count I was able to see some of those pitches, lay off some of those. Getting into a 3-2 count I finally got a pitch I could drive.”
Manager Jayce Tingler said it was encouraging for Machado, ”because the work he’s been putting in, just truly grinding, fighting for a feeling, working. You can tell the last couple of days it’s starting to come. To top it off with that at-bat, that’s as hard of a ball that he hit. Super impressive. More just thrilled for him.”
Tingler said Grisham, Tatis and Machado had three of the best at-bats he’s seen this year.
”The takes Grisham had to battle to get on, then the Tatis battle. Montero’s out there making pitches, those guys are fighting, fighting, just battling pitches in the zone to draw the walk and Manny’s at-bat, just continue to grind, to fight pitches off, and then to finish it off like that.
”These guys keep fighting. I feel like we’re never out of it just because our guys keep coming. That was a huge win tonight.”
Texas had gone ahead 3-2 in the top of the inning when Willie Calhoun’s dribbler in front of the plate off Tim Hill (1-0) scored Nick Solak with two outs.
Catcher Austin Hedges couldn’t get a grip on the ball and Solak scored. Calhoun was injured running out the single and was replaced by Scott Heineman.
Joey Gallo, who had tied the game at 2 with a homer off Matt Strahm leading off the ninth, missed a grand slam by just a few feet to end the 10th.
The Padres beat the Rangers in Arlington on Monday and Tuesday, getting a grand slam in the first game by Tatis and one in the second game by Wil Myers.
”It’s a tough one, man,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. ”We fought our butt off tonight. Montero gave it everything he had, tried to pitch two innings right there to get us a win.
”We’re not just getting the breaks. Joey had a really good at-bat against their lefty right there, came up about two feet short. I’ve got to give them credit. They fought Monty pretty hard right there. Monty was making some pretty tough pitches. Tatis had some really good foul balls just the whole at-bat, Machado did the same thing. They kind of wore him down. Credit to Montero for not giving in. He wasn’t going to walk him right there.”
Tatis hit a go-ahead shot off Lance Lynn with two outs in the third. Jurickson Profar homered for the second straight game against Texas, where he spent his first four full big league seasons, also off Lynn.
Lynn came in with an MLB-leading 1.11 ERA after a two-hit complete game at Colorado on Friday.
Tatis also leads MLB with 29 RBIs and 24 runs, and is tied for the lead with six steals.
Tatis has homered three times in this series, including twice for seven RBIs in Monday night’s 14-4 win at Arlington. Among them was a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch from Juan Nicasio with the Padres leading by seven runs, reigniting arguments over baseball’s ”unwritten rules.” Tatis’ slam angered the Rangers.
After Tatis’ slam, reliever Ian Gibaut threw behind Machado, leading to a three-game suspension for the reliever, which was reduced to two games, and one game for Woodward.
Roughned Odor homered off Chris Paddack with one out in the second, his third.
Paddack allowed one run and four hits in six innings, struck out five and walked two.
Lynn gave up two runs and eight hits in seven innings, struck out six and walked none.
Gibaut dropped his appeal and began serving his two-game suspension. The Rangers will play with 27 players for this series.
Woodward said Calhoun strained his left hamstring and that he’ll probably get an MRI on Thursday. ”It doesn’t look great, to be honest with you,” the manager said, adding that Calhoun could be headed for the injured list.
Rangers: RHP Kyle Gibson (1-2, 3.74 ERA) is scheduled to start the series finale Thursday night. He beat the Padres in his only appearance against them, on Sept. 12, 2017, while with Minnesota.
Padres: RHP Dinelson Lamet (2-1, 1.59) is set to go for the Padres.
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