Tatis, Profar take their star turns back to back

June 8th, 2024

SAN DIEGO -- In Padres history, only two players have started in the outfield for the National League All-Star team. And, yes, they’re the two outfielders you were probably thinking of. Tony Gwynn did so nine times during his Hall of Fame career. Dave Winfield did so once.

Come July, the Padres might just double that total.

and have been arguably the two best outfielders in the NL this season. They entered play Friday ranked first and second, respectively, in wins above replacement, according to FanGraphs.

They wasted no time bolstering their credentials on Friday night. Tatis and Profar launched back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the first inning, setting the tone for San Diego’s skid-snapping 10-3 victory over the Diamondbacks at Petco Park.

“When you have your big boys being big boys,” Mike Shildt said, “that’s what this thing’s all about.”

The win put an end to an ugly five-game losing streak for the Padres. In a topsy-turvy National League, they entered the game with the circuit’s fifth-best record but would have dropped to 10th with a loss.

Instead, they’re back in the win column, thanks in part to the exploits of their two All-Star-caliber outfielders. Fan voting opened this week, and Tatis was asked Friday night about the possibility of starting the All-Star Game alongside his teammate and one of his closest friends.

“That would be fun,” said Tatis, whose homer extended his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest active streak in the Majors. “That would definitely be fun. It’s definitely something, if we accomplish it, something that we’re going to talk [about] probably forever. From working in the offseasons to playing winter ball together and, hopefully going to the All-Star Game.

“That would be a really nice piece to our story.”

After the early power display from Tatis and Profar, the Padres got contributions from up and down their lineup. Luis Campusano, mired in a month-long slump, pounded out three hits. Profar, Luis Arraez, Jake Cronenworth and Ha-Seong Kim each had two.

“This is a big win for us,” said Arraez. “This is a good start.”

The Padres had made a small bit of unwanted history with their recent five-game losing streak. In each of those five games, they got a quality start. In each of those five games, they out-hit their opponent. In each of those five games, they lost.

They became the first team since at least 1913, when earned runs became an official statistic, to endure such a streak.

“They were good games; we were in them until the ninth inning,” Tatis said. “Obviously, we can’t overturn them. But we flipped the page. We came in determined: Just win a ballgame.”

The Padres snapped another streak Friday night, too. Technically, the Padres didn’t get a quality start (at least six innings with three earned runs or fewer) from Michael King. But they got a ruggedly impressive outing from the right-hander, who dealt with traffic all night and needed 98 pitches to work through five innings. Five scoreless innings.

“I’d call it a grind,” King said. “I felt like I put myself into some bad situations. But just putting up zeros was the name of the game. It’s good to win again.”

After King’s exit, Kim's two-run homer put the Padres on top 5-0 in the sixth inning. When the D-backs rallied for three in the seventh, the Padres broke the game open with a five-run eighth. Campusano smacked an RBI single to right. Three batters later, Profar put the game out of reach with a bases-clearing double. Donovan Solano added the finishing touches with an RBI knock. Among Padres starters, only David Peralta was left hitless.

During their losing streak, the Padres struggled to score. They ran themselves out of innings on the basepaths. They didn’t hit for much power. They failed to capitalize on opportunities.

Friday night brought the opposite.

The Padres ran the bases smartly and aggressively. Their three home runs were the most they’ve hit in a game since May 19. Their 10 runs were the most they’ve scored at home since April 10.

The next challenge? Sustaining this. The Padres are adamant that Friday’s game was a more accurate descriptor of who they are than the previous five.

“Hopefully,” Tatis said, “this one can take us on a win streak.”