Padres rally from 5 runs to beat Cubs

Padres rally from 5 runs to beat Cubs

CHICAGO — It was mid-March, and Manny Machado had just learned that teammate and Padres mate Fernando Tatis Jr. was going to miss a lot of time with a broken left wrist.

Machado, as skilful as ever, made a prediction:

“When he puts on that uniform, we’ll be in a good position. In a good place to welcome him. You don’t win a championship in the first three months of the season. You could put yourself in a very good position. .. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

And, boy, do they.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Padres announced Tatis still hasn’t been cleared to resume swinging a bat, following the latest round of imaging on his ailing wrist. On Tuesday night, they won another game without him – a 12-5 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

“Every guy pulls the rope in the same direction,” said second baseman Jake Cronenworth, who notched his second straight three-hitter night. “Hopefully we get [Tatis] back soon, and he can give us a little spark. But the guys are playing really well right now, and we’re still building on what we’re doing every night.

When Machado made his prediction three months ago, it seemed a little optimistic. It was a team coming off a 79-win season, losing its best player from the previous year, in one of baseball’s toughest divisions. And yet, with Tuesday’s win, the Padres remained a virtual tie for first place with the Dodgers.

“It was tough being on the sidelines,” said Tatis, who trained on the pitch ahead of the game. “But I’m just proud of my team. We’re one of the best teams in baseball without me.

In another time and place, news of Tatis’ delayed recovery would have been organizationally overwhelming. Tatis is the Padres’ preeminent superstar, one of the most exciting players in all of sport.

But Machado was shrewd in his assessment of Tatis’s injury in March, even as the rest of the baseball world seemed panicked. The Padres weren’t going to win any playoff series in mid-June. They could only put themselves in a solid position for the return of Tatis, when it was.

We still don’t have an answer. But the question suddenly seems much less pressing.

“We expect him to come back – it’s only a matter of time,” Padres president of baseball operations AJ Preller said earlier in the afternoon. “I don’t think it changes like, ‘Hey, we need to do something from a roster perspective.’ Guys, they’ve been playing well, and we’re finding a lot of ways to win games.”

For the most part, it was pitching and defense that carried San Diego through Tatis’ extended absence. But on Tuesday, the offense showed what it is capable of. Southpaw Sean Manaea is out after over four innings, his shortest start of the season. The Padres, who had yet to overcome a more than three-point deficit, came back strong.

Luke Voit homered, doubled and drove in five runs. Jorge Alfaro also homered and was one of six Padres with multiple hits. For the second night in a row, the Padres jumped on a tired Cubs bullpen after scoring a single run against their starter.

“We just believe in each other,” center fielder Trent Grisham said. “It’s an accumulation of a lot of things, but it boils down to: We believe we’re in every game. We know our pitching team has got us. Then we have nine tries.

Of the Padres’ starters, only Machado went without a hit. Cubs center fielder Christopher Morel robbed Machado with a brilliant diving catch in the ninth, keeping Machado within one hit of his 1,500th career hit.

In Tatis’ absence, Machado was the stabilizing force the Padres needed. He put up MVP-caliber numbers while the rest of the offense struggled. Now the rest of that group – Voit and Cronenworth in particular – have started to carry their weight.

So what happens next? Eventually, the Padres will add Tatis, one of the sport’s most influential players to a position where they haven’t had much production this season. They are already a first-place team, with the best 63-game start in franchise history. Is it possible that they are even better?

“We still have reinforcements coming in,” Grisham said. “We have a lot of guys who are hungry and a lot of guys who believe in each other. Who knows where this might lead us?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.