Ward's stellar debut, Upton's big night lift Halos

August 15th, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- The Angels called up prospect Taylor Ward in the hope that he would provide a much-needed offensive boost at third base. After making his MLB debut on Tuesday night, Ward delivered, going 2-for-3 with an RBI in the Angels' 7-3 win over the Padres at Petco Park.

"It felt good," Ward said. "I was a little nervous early on, but around the third inning, I felt a lot better. I was able to slow the game down, and I was able to start breathing again."

Ward put the Angels on the board with an RBI double in his first at-bat in the second inning, walked in the fourth and singled to right field in the sixth. Originally drafted as a catcher, Ward was tested only twice at third base, venturing into foul territory to snag a popup off the bat of in the first inning and successfully fielding a grounder from in the sixth.

Position change accelerated Ward's progress

"Fun to watch," manager Mike Scioscia said. "You have your normal butterflies any youngster would have, but he came up and he was really comfortable in the batter's box. He did a great job."

A first-round pick of the Angels in 2015, Ward said he had about 10 family members and friends in the stands on Tuesday. He planned to give his first-hit ball to his father, Joe.

gave the Angels more reason to celebrate, as he extended his hitting streak to seven games by going 3-for-5 with a two-run home run and three RBIs.

"The way he's been swinging this week has given us a big lift," Scioscia said. "He's hitting the ball hard. He's had good at-bats. He's driving in runs and doing what he's capable of doing."

added two RBIs, as the Angels (61-60) climbed back over .500 with their second straight win over the Padres.

Rookie picked up his eighth win of the season after giving up one run on six hits over five innings. He walked one and struck out seven in the 86-pitch effort. The 22-year-old right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA in his last four starts.

"He battled," Scioscia said. "He was missing up a lot. He had a lot of counts that got away from him. His fastball command wasn't quite as crisp, but I think his ability to use his slider and changeup to get back into some counts helped a lot. He pitched a good five innings, but he had to work really hard to get there."

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The Angels opened the scoring in the second inning after and delivered back-to-back singles off Padres right-hander to bring up Ward with runners on first and second and no outs. Ward promptly stroked a double down the right-field line for his first MLB hit and first RBI.

"Luckily enough, I took a good swing and got it down that line," Ward said.

Young followed by plating Cowart from third on a run-scoring groundout. Padres second baseman fielded the ball and had a play at the plate, but he bobbled the transfer and could only get the out at first base, allowing Cowart to slide in safely and extend the Angels' lead to 2-0.

In the fourth, Ward drew a four-pitch walk off Kennedy and scored from first on Young's one-out triple to center field.

Barria pitched around traffic to post three scoreless innings before surrendering a solo home run to Galvis that cut the deficit to 3-1 in the fourth. Still, the Angels padded their lead in the fifth after singled to set up Upton's 26th home run of the season, a 435-foot shot to center field that made it 5-1.

The Padres pulled within two by scoring a pair of runs off in the sixth, but the Angels regained some breathing room on Upton's RBI single in the seventh and 's sacrifice fly in the ninth.

SOUND SMART

Upton has homered in five of his last seven games and is batting .448 (13-for-29) with 12 RBIs over that span. He is 8-for-18 against his former club since departing San Diego via free agency following the 2015 season.

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY

Renfroe led off the eighth with a single off Jim Johnson, but he was erased from the basepaths after Spangenberg grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. The Padres thought Spangenberg might have narrowly beaten out shortstop ' throw to first base and challenged the call, but the ruling was confirmed following a replay review.

UP NEXT

Right-hander (1-3, 4.95 ERA) will take the mound on Wednesday as the Angels close out their three-game Interleague series against the Padres at 6:10 p.m. PT at Petco Park. He will be opposed by San Diego left-hander Robbie Erlin (2-3, 3.36 ERA). Pena is 1-1 with a 1.84 ERA in three road starts this season. He made his only appearance against the Padres as a reliever for the Cubs on Aug. 23, 2016, in which he gave up three runs over one-third of an inning.