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More to like than 3 straight wins over Dodgers

Padres held their own against the National League's best
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Clayton Richard sees the direction the Padres are headed. So does Wil Myers. And Jhoulys Chacin.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Clayton Richard sees the direction the Padres are headed. So does Wil Myers. And Jhoulys Chacin.

"The culture is shifting," Richard said Sunday after the Padres scored a third straight win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park.

"We're still young," the veteran left-hander continued. "But we're starting to establish a willingness to compete every day. Where we want to be has to start with that belief as well as good young players. You have to believe you can win every night against anyone. That tone is being set."

"Everyone thought we'd just be playing it out this year because we were so young," said Chacin after his brilliant seven-inning outing Sunday, which resulted in the third straight win over the Dodgers.

"We couldn't change that we were young and inexperienced. We play hard. And we're playing for moving it forward. We won that series in St. Louis. We beat the Dodgers here. It's not something that just happened. There's a building feeling."

And Myers feels it, too.

"I think it could become something special," said the first baseman. "We've played really well. I like what we are doing and where we're headed. We are kind of developing as a group. I hate to think where we might be if I had hit better."

The Padres are not a championship-caliber team yet by any description. But they are moving forward. Since starting the season losing 30 of their first 45 games, the Padres have gone 47-45. And more recently, they have held their own during the toughest part of the schedule.

Take the game the Padres lost in the Dodgers series as an example. The Dodgers won 1-0 with Clayton Kershaw pitching a gem. But rookie Dinelson Lamet matched him.

"The difference was one pitch against Kershaw," said Chacin. "One-nothing, that's competing. That game showed me something. This weekend showed me something. And there are a lot of young players in the system."

Not every prospect is going to reach a Major League lineup. But the Padres have a bundle. Most of the Padres top prospects spent the 2017 season playing in leagues advanced for their age. Class A Fort Wayne opened the season with five of the 10 youngest players in the Midwest League and made the playoffs.

Eighteen-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. is finishing the season at Double-A San Antonio, where postseason Texas League All-Star Luis Urías opened the season as the youngest player in the league.

There are no promises in baseball. But fans have a right to be excited about the Padres' future.

The Padres are not there. So much needs to be done, the results might not be seen for another two to three seasons. But I think they are turning the corner. The game that gave me the most hope over the weekend was actually Friday night, the only game they lost.

The Padres and Dinelson Lamet battled the powerful Dodgers down to a single pitch. Andy Green saw the same thing.

"You lose a game short term, but for the long term, I think it was exciting," said Green. "To see someone square off against Clayton Kershaw and for the most part match him, you can't ask for anything more from Lamet."

Okay, so the weekend was one small step. But it was a step in the right direction. And a step the Padres needed to make.

Noteworthy

• Chacin entered Sunday's game against the Dodgers with the lowest home ERA in the National League at 1.85. Chacin allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and no walks with eight strikeouts Sunday to end a three-decision losing streak. Although Chacin's overall ERA dropped to a season-low 3.96, his home ERA jumped slightly to 1.91. Chacin is 8-3 at home and 12-10 overall this season.

• SS Erick Aybar was 4-for-8 in the final two games of the Dodgers series with Sunday's two-run homer, a double and three runs scored. Aybar came off the disabled list after missing 28 games with a fracture in his left foot suffered July 21. The Padres had believed Aybar was lost for the rest of the season when he passed a physical last week and returned to the Padres after a two-game rehab assignment in Arizona.

• Is Myers finally showing signs of breaking out of his prolonged slump? Myers was 3-for-4 Sunday with two RBIs. He was 5-for-11 with a double, a triple, three RBIs and two runs scored in the series, and he is 10-for-30 in his eight games after going hitless in 20 straight at-bats. Sunday was his 29th multihit game of the season and his fourth game with three or more hits.

• LF Jose Pirela was 3-for-9 against the Dodgers this series with a home run, three RBIs, three walks and three runs scored.

• LHP Brad Hand gave up ninth-inning homers both Saturday and Sunday to the Dodgers. Saturday's two-run shot by Justin Turner tied the score and nailed Hand with a blown save, although he picked up the win on Yangervis Solarte's walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth. Hand got his 15th save Sunday despite Cody Bellinger's homer.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Diego Padres