The Padres returned to San Diego after winning four straight games to complete their most successful long road trip in more than two decades.
They played Monday a bit like they didn’t know where they were until they got home (or maybe they got done on the road) and fought their way before they even won 3- 2 on José Azocar’s single in the tenand inning. (The score of the box.)
“It’s amazing,” Azocar said. “Because I have the opportunity and I tried to do my best and I get the results.”
An offense that scored 10 runs on a season-high 17 hits Sunday at San Francisco didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning. The Padres could barely hit a ball hard for much of the game, then got a few doubles and played a little ball to tie the game with a run in the fifth and a run in the seventh.
They pushed their winning streak to five games, a season high, and improved to become the best in the major leagues 14-10 in one-point games with outstanding defense in key moments as well.
“That’s been our theme this year,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We are not fighting. … As long as we keep making plays, we’re not going to fight in matches like this. I think it was very important. One of the reasons we’ve won close games is that we don’t fight, and we’ve put ourselves in a pretty good position and hopefully you get it enough times, someone gets through it .
Padres starter Nick Martinez allowed just two runs but left after five innings after throwing 106 pitches. He took 31 in the second inning when he walked a batter, allowed a single and gave up Tyrone Taylor’s double at two out and two RBIs.
The Padres defense again played a big part in a win.
A walk and two singles charged the no-outs in the fourth inning before Martinez received a shallow fly ball from Taylor and retired Jace Peterson and Jake Cronenworth made a diving stop in the grass on the ground of Kolten Wong in the middle . Martinez punched his fist in the air in front of him and screamed as he stomped off the mound after Cronenworth finished the takedown with a pitch to first.
“What a game,” Martinez said after the game. “What a piece (expletive). It was awesome.”
Nabil Crismatt, Tim Hill, Robert Suarez, Taylor Rogers and Luis Garcia followed Martinez with a scoreless run apiece. Garcia escaped a goal-scoring jam by starting a home-first double play by Andrew McCutchen, then pulling Rowdy Tellez out on a groundout.
“As soon as I saw the ball on the ground, I thought, ‘I have to make the throw home and get the double play,'” Garcia said. didn’t worry about Alfaro throwing first.
The Padres walked twice but didn’t score in the first inning. They also failed to score after Jurickson Profar got their first hit against Adrian Houser in the lead of the fourth. Manny Machado left the bases loaded with a fly out to finish seventh and left the runners in the corners with a strikeout to finish ninth. Azocar’s game-winner was the Padres’ third hit in 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Machado started on the 10and inning to second base and moved to third on Jurickson Profar’s grounder on the right side. Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers were intentionally walked around to bring Ha-seong Kim with the bases loaded. Kim hit a soft lineout at shortstop before Azocar fired a single into center field.
A single from Luke Voit, a double from Trent Grisham and an RBI groundout from Jorge Alfaro, all with one out, made the Padres 2-1 in the fifth inning.
Myers’ leading double in the seventh, reliever Brad Boxberger, led the tie run when he moved up to third on ground down the right side of Robinson Cano and scored on Grisham’s bunt single that stayed right on the grass and died about halfway up the first base line.
The Padres have the third-best record in the major leagues, at 28-14. After going 7-2 on their just-completed road trip to Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco (their best road trip of at least eight games since 2001), their 17-7 record on the road is the best of the majors.
They average the second-highest points per game (5.3) on the road. Their batting average of .242 away from Petco Park ranks 11andand their .691 road OPS is 13and. At home, they entered Monday averaging 3.4 carries per game (24and) and beat .218 (27and) with a .656 OPS (24and).
No matter where they are or how a bunch of innings are going, they keep finding ways to win.