Padres show what they're capable of in rout

Machado, Reyes go yard twice; Tatis hits huge homer

June 30th, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- When was the last time baseball in San Diego looked anything like this?

The Padres thrashed the Cardinals, 12-2, on Saturday night in front of a jam-packed Petco Park -- 44,407 roaring fans, who are entertaining dreams of playoff baseball in the East Village for the first time in 13 years.

It was only one game in late June, of course, and the Padres’ roster certainly isn’t flawless. But on Saturday night, at least, those playoff dreams didn’t seem so far-fetched.

Not when , months removed from inking his 10-year contract, was launching monster home runs in consecutive at-bats. By now, his slow start is ancient history.

Not when , the rookie righty who could one day feature at the front of the rotation, was dotting changeups and blowing fastballs by Cardinals hitters. He struck out eight and allowed two hits.

Not when , the answer to the team’s long-standing shortstop question, was putting all five tools on display. The 20-year-old phenom homered, had three hits and wreaked his usual havoc on the bases, scoring from second on a grounder to the left side.

And not when , the breakout 23-year-old slugger, was showing off his otherworldly power with homers to both fields. He’s the first hitter in franchise history with 40 homers before his 24th birthday.

The Padres’ future is undoubtedly bright. But their present suddenly seems pretty good, too.

“We're seeing a kid on the mound we believe a lot in, a kid at shortstop we believe a lot in, and a guy in right field that's really young, too,” said Padres manager Andy Green. “He's hitting a lot of home runs for us. That's a youthful club. Even our veterans are still relatively young.

“We like what we have. It's been a plan for a while to build it. A lot of people can start to see it right now.”

Saturday night should go down as one of the franchise’s most encouraging nights in recent memory -- even if it started with Paddack serving up an opposite-field home run to leadoff man Tommy Edman.

From there, San Diego got the version of Paddack who burst onto the scene in April. He didn’t allow another hit until the sixth inning, inducing 18 whiffs along the way. After spending a month in search of his swing-and-miss stuff, Paddack found it in a big way on Saturday night.

“Feels good to get back to myself,” he said.

The Padres’ offense broke things open in the bottom of the second inning, and it started with Paddack, who bounced an RBI groundout to second base. Two batters later, Tatis beat out a ground ball to short, giving the Padres the lead. They weren’t done.

Later in the frame, Machado and Reyes went back-to-back, sending Petco Park into a frenzy, with the Padres leading, 7-1. Machado would go deep again in the fourth. Reyes did so in the seventh.

After a slow start, the San Diego offense has come to life this month, propelling the club back into contention, despite question marks on the pitching side. The Padres sit a game and a half back of both National League Wild Card spots. At 42-40, they’re guaranteed to enter July with a winning record for the first time since 2010.

Most importantly: The major contributors to the Padres’ strong first half are locked up in San Diego for a long time. A core built around Machado, Tatis, Paddack and Reyes will almost certainly deliver a few more nights like Saturday.

“It's been pretty incredible to watch, incredible to be a part of,” Machado said.

And it’s precisely what he envisioned when he signed on the dotted line in February.