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Rise, Up: Padres walk off on Yanks

July 3, 2016

SAN DIEGO -- Melvin Upton Jr. turned on the first pitch he saw from Yankees reliever Andrew Miller, and walked off straight into the Padres' record books on Saturday night.The veteran left fielder led off the bottom of the ninth with his third game-ending homer of the season, propelling the

SAN DIEGO -- Melvin Upton Jr. turned on the first pitch he saw from Yankees reliever Andrew Miller, and walked off straight into the Padres' record books on Saturday night.
The veteran left fielder led off the bottom of the ninth with his third game-ending homer of the season, propelling the Padres to a thrilling 2-1 victory at Petco Park. Upton, who also beat the D-backs and the Dodgers with walk-off shots, became the first player in Padres history to record three walk-off home runs in the same year.
"I've seen him a lot in the past, so I had a pretty good feel for him," Upton said of facing Miller, whose fastball simply tailed too far over the inner third of the plate. "I just got something I could handle."
Until Saturday, Toronto's Josh Donaldson was the last big leaguer with three game-ending dingers in a season, doing so in 2015. Upton -- who has ended a game with a home run seven times in his career -- also tied Bruce Bochy, Bip Roberts and Scott Hairston as the Padres' all-time leaders in walk-off blasts, with three.
Upton belts Padres-record 3rd walk-off homer
San Diego ace Drew Pomeranz set the stage for Upton with yet another solid start, striking out seven and allowing just one run over seven frames. In half of Pomeranz's 16 starts this season, he's allowed one run or fewer.
Meanwhile, Yankees starter Ivan Nova was equally sharp over his 5 1/3 frames. He allowed a run on four hits, while striking out seven -- one shy of his season high. 
"We're not playing the way we're supposed to play, but it's a long season," Nova said. "We've got to stay together and keep at it, and try to forget what happened in the past and just look forward to the second half and win more games."
Hey now, you're an All-Star? Rollie Fingers, who pitched in the 1978 Midsummer Classic, is the only Padres pitcher in history to represent his team in a hometown All-Star Game. In his final start before rosters are unveiled Tuesday night, Pomeranz made a case to become the second. With his seven strong frames, the 28-year-old southpaw sits eighth in the National League with a 2.65 ERA, and third with a .191 batting average against.
"There's an unbelievable crop of starting pitchers in the National League," said Padres skipper Andy Green. "But you look at his hard-hit rate, you look at his punch-rate, you look at his ERA, strikeouts -- everything lines up with top-of-the-rotation guys. He's pitched like an ace." More >

It's not Miller's time: Miller said he felt out of sorts, even in the eighth inning, as he issued a leadoff walk to Travis Jankowski and had to battle to keep San Diego off the board. Beginning the ninth, he was trying to go low and away with the decisive fastball to Upton, but didn't locate the pitch. It was the fifth home run that Miller has permitted in 35 2/3 innings this season.
"I just wasn't very good," Miller said. "It's not where I wanted to throw that ball, and I paid for it, unfortunately. It would've been nice to get [my teammates] some more at-bats. I just didn't do my job." More >
Check that: The Padres tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning when Matt Kemp's check swing turned into an RBI double. Kemp tried to hold up on a Dellin Betances fastball about a foot out of the strike zone. But the ball hit his bat anyway, and ricocheted into the right-field corner, scoring Wil Myers.

Refsnyder's strong throw: Refsnyder has been a hitter without a position for much of his brief big league career, but he came up firing with a one-hop seed from right field in the sixth inning to keep the game tied at 1. Charging Upton's single, Refsnyder delivered the ball just in time for catcher Austin Romine to apply a swipe tag on Kemp, who was attempting to score from second base. Drafted as an outfielder, Refsnyder has also seen time at second base and third base this season.

• The Yankees successfully challenged a call at first base in the top of the fifth inning, as Romine was initially ruled out on a two-out grounder to third baseman Yangervis Solarte. A review of four minutes and 20 seconds overturned the call, with Romine ruled safe. Nova struck out to end the inning.

• New York successfully challenged a second call in the bottom of the sixth, as Jankowski was initially ruled safe on a double to left fielder Gardner. A review of two minutes and 34 seconds determined that second baseman Castro's tag was applied before Jankowski reached the bag.

• Later in the sixth, the Yankees had a third challenge go their way -- this time initiated by Green. After Refsnyder's perfect throw nailed Kemp at the plate, Green requested replay, hopeful that Kemp's hand touched the plate before Romine's tag, or that Romine had illegally blocked the plate. But after review, the call was allowed to stand.
Yankees: Right-hander Chad Green will return to make his second Major League start (third appearance) on Sunday as the Yankees conclude their three-game Interleague series with the Padres. Green took the loss in his debut, on May 14 at Arizona, allowing six runs (four earned) over four innings. He was 6-6 with an International League-leading 1.54 ERA at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, ranking second in the circuit with a 0.98 WHIP.
Padres:Andrew Cashner makes his return from a strained neck on Sunday afternoon for the finale against the Yankees. First pitch is set for 1:40 p.m. PT. Cashner tossed three scoreless frames in a rehab start Tuesday for Lake Elsinore, and he will not be on a specific pitch count -- though the Padres will be keeping a close eye on his workload.
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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.