San Diego Padres begin home stand with third straight win

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SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 28: Eric Hosmer #30 of the San Diego Padres, right, is congratulated by Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Petco Park June 28, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 28: Eric Hosmer #30 of the San Diego Padres, right, is congratulated by Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Petco Park June 28, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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The San Diego Padres emerged victorious in what turned out to be a record-setting performance, thanks to Fernando Tatis Jr., Eric Hosmer, and Kirby Yates.

Welcome home, Padres.

After a five-game road trip, the San Diego Padres returned with a fire, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1. In doing so, the Friars surpassed .500 at their halfway mark to leapfrog the Redbirds in the standings. They now sit 1.5 games back from playoff contention and are knocking hard at the door.

While the Cardinals were hot out of the gate, the Padres dominated by the end. The Redbirds out-hit the Friars 6-2 through the first five innings, while the Padres’ offense was flat – they cycled through the lineup quickly and had only managed three hits. In all fairness, Michael Wacha had a spectacular night, striking out two batters through seven innings with only one run allowed.

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That is, until Fernando Tatis Jr. and Eric Hosmer had had enough.

The pair hit back-to-back solo home runs to take the lead in the sixth inning. Tatis smoked a 110-MPH line-drive homer to right field, becoming only the second rookie shortstop ever to hit 10 home runs and steal 10 bases in the first half of the season.

Hosmer’s home run was a crushed ball to center field that cleared the bushes.

Over 50% of the Padres’ runs this season have been via the long ball.

There was a clear shift in momentum from that point on. The Cardinals wouldn’t score again, while the Padres would add a third run in the eighth inning

On the mound, Eric Lauer regressed from his last start. He pitched only four innings, giving up six hits and striking out three batters with one walk.

Though he only allowed one run, the Cardinals’ poor base-running helped him out. They went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position, leaving six runners on base through Lauer’s four innings. Ultimately, the Cardinals left 10 runners on base.

In relief, the bullpen finally had an excellent game. Cal Quantrill replaced Lauer in the fifth, pitching two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Luis Perdomo took over in the seventh inning with Craig Stammen following in the eighth. Kirby Yates threw the last four strikeouts to complete the save.

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Which, by the way, happened to be the most saves ever by a Padres pitcher before the All-Star game. Yates surpassed Heath Bell (26) and Trevor Hoffman (25) to etch his name into the Padres’ history books.

“This is when the season gets fun”, Yates told MLB after the game.

Indeed, this is where the season gets fun. The Padres are in the thick of it all halfway through the season, fielding the most exciting team we’ve seen since 2010.

Questions abound whether the success can be sustained, but one thing’s for certain – this team is fun to watch.

Next. Padres sweep Orioles with dominant offensive showing. dark

The Padres vs. Cardinals series continues with Game 2 on Saturday, June 29. For complete coverage of the San Diego Padres’ 2019 season, continue following Friars on Base all season long.

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