Down 6 in 9th, Padres WIN! Renfroe hits 3 HRs

June 15th, 2019

DENVER -- Maybe, just maybe, it’s too early to write off these Padres.

On Friday night it was.

Staring down a six-game losing streak and a six-run ninth-inning deficit, the Padres rallied in improbable fashion for a 16-12, 12-inning victory over the Rockies at Coors Field. They mounted the largest ninth-inning comeback in franchise history, then tacked on five more runs in the 12th to win a 5-hour, 4-minute marathon.

“I ain’t seen nothing like it,” said Wil Myers.

“Shows what this team’s all about,” said Eric Hosmer.

It was, quite simply, one of the wildest games in franchise history and arguably the craziest in baseball this season. homered three times. sparked both rallies. Rookie backup catcher smashed the go-ahead double.

The way baseball is designed -- with 30 different teams playing 162 games and doing so on a near-nightly basis -- most games fade into history. It’s rare that a mid-June regular-season game produces folklore like this.

“That’s a special one,” said Padres manager Andy Green. “You don’t forget these.”

Here’s every detail of one of the most memorable ninth-inning rallies in Padres history:

Fernando Tatis Jr.: single off Mike Dunn

Score: 11-5

Win expectancy: 0.8 percent

Of course, Tatis was the spark. He’s been the spark all year long. To start the ninth, Tatis took ball one. Then Mike Dunn grooved a fastball, and the rookie phenom shot it into shallow left field for a single.

“I’m not giving up,” Tatis said. “It’s still a ballgame. That’s why I’m not giving up — stuff like this today.”

Tatis might not have given up. But he briefly forgot to “chop” at first base -- his signature move after every hit and a move that the entire team now replicates. Tatis reached first base, removed his shin guard, then heard some chirping from the Padres’ dugout. Even down six runs, they wanted him to chop. At long last, he obliged -- somewhat sheepishly.

Josh Naylor: strikeout vs. Dunn

Score: 11-5

Win expectancy: 0.3 percent

Until the ninth inning Friday night, the Padres had played arguably their sloppiest game of the season. That included a sixth-inning miscue from Naylor that led to an inside-the-park, three-run homer for Ian Desmond.

Later in that frame, the Padres allowed a run on a wild pitch. In the seventh, Manny Machado and Matt Wisler made errant throws that led to two runs.

“It went from about as ugly as we could possibly play to as unbelievable as it could possibly be,” Green said.

When Naylor struck out with a man aboard, the Padres’ win probability dropped to 0.3 percent.

Manny Machado: single off Dunn

Score: 11-5

Win expectancy: 0.6 percent

Offensively, Machado has yet to be the force the Padres paid for this season. But he’s heating up. His four hits were a season high, and he homered for the third time in two nights. When Machado lined the first pitch he saw from Dunn into right field, the Padres were in business.

“You get a couple guys on, you feel like you have a chance,” Hosmer said. “All of a sudden, the energy starts to turn up a little bit.”

Eric Hosmer: single off Dunn
Score: 11-7
Win expectancy: 2 percent

Hosmer was a part of some memorable comebacks with the Royals during their consecutive pennant-winning seasons earlier this decade. He claims he’s never seen a game with as many strange twists as this one.

Facing Dunn in the ninth, Hosmer worked a brilliant 10-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off four two-strike pitches. A wild pitch allowed both runners to advance, before Hosmer lined a 3-2 fastball from Dunn into center field.

“After Hoz hit the single and scored the two, I was like: 'All right. Maybe,’ Renfroe said.

Hunter Renfroe: home run off Dunn
Score: 11-9
Win expectancy: 4.6 percent

Renfroe’s three-homer game was the second of his career, and the first for a Padres batter since Myers last July in Arizona. He joined Steve Finley as the only Padres with multiple three-homer games, and he picked some big moments for his home runs.

His second-inning blast gave the Padres a 1-0 lead. His two-run shot in the 12th nailed down the victory. But his mammoth home run in the ninth was easily the most majestic. He sent it towering toward the very last rows in left-center.

“He hit it about seven miles,” Green said.

Statcast had it at 459 feet, to be more precise.

“I got to two strikes real quick and was able to get a barrel on a ball that I could handle,” Renfroe said. “I was able to hit it out, and I was like: ‘Well, this really could happen.’”

Wil Myers: single off Wade Davis
Score: 11-9
Win expectancy: 10.2 percent

“When we saw Wade get up, we knew something was brewing,” Hosmer said.

The Rockies’ closer couldn’t stop the bleeding. Myers, who was famously traded to Tampa Bay for Davis and James Shields, sent a missile up the middle on the first pitch he saw, bringing the tying run to the plate.

Ian Kinsler: single off Wade Davis
Score: 11-9
Win expectancy: 18.1 percent

Kinsler’s Padres tenure has been a rocky one. His rough start has coincided with calls for No. 2 prospect Luis Urias to be promoted to take his place. Kinsler, meanwhile, has quietly pieced together a strong past month. He’s hitting .299/.373/.507 in his past 20 games.

On Friday night, Kinsler reached base five times, becoming only the second Padre to do so this season. His ninth-inning single put the tying run aboard.

“These guys aren’t quitting,” Hosmer said. “In that ninth inning, pretty much everybody was in a big situation there. You saw the at-bats. You saw guys grinding. Everybody just kept the line moving.”

Austin Hedges: flyout vs. Davis
Score: 11-9
Win expectancy: 8.2 percent

Here’s an underrated candidate for the hero of the comeback: third base coach Glenn Hoffman.

Hedges hit a routine one-out fly ball to right field. Myers, thinking there were two outs, broke for third base. Hoffman began screaming in Myers’ direction and held up a stop sign while doing so. Myers got the hint and hustled back to second base just in time to beat Charlie Blackmon’s throw.

“That inning was so long, I almost forgot how many outs there were,” Myers joked.

Manuel Margot: walk off Davis
Score: 11-9
Win expectancy: 15.6 percent

Given his struggles on offense this season, Margot wasn’t exactly the guy the Padres wanted at the plate with the game on the line in the ninth. But he was the only remaining option on their bench, aside from Allen. The Padres hoped to avoid using Allen, their backup catcher, in that spot, because of some recent ankle trouble Hedges had been dealing with.

Nonetheless, Margot worked a crucial walk, laying off four straight fastballs from Davis after swinging at strike one. Two innings later, Margot saved the game with a brilliant running catch in center field, robbing Ryan McMahon of extra bases -- on a play with a 30 percent catch probability.

“He’s clearly our best defender out there,” Green said. “He came in, got a big walk in that ninth-inning rally, then went out and played defense for us and made a huge catch.”

Fernando Tatis Jr.: single off Davis
Score: 11-11
Win expectancy: 44.3 percent

Perhaps fittingly, Tatis’ second ninth inning at-bat was also his final at-bat as a prospect. The 20-year-old rookie officially graduated from the top prospect ranking Friday night, and he did so in style.

Tatis rocked a 2-1 cutter from Davis into center field at 115.9 mph. That’s the hardest ball a Padre has hit this season. Myers scored. Kinsler scored. The Padres had tied the game. Naylor would follow with an inning-ending strikeout, but they’d win it three innings later.

“Probably one of the best moments I’ve had in baseball,” Tatis said. “You feel like games like this. That’s how you become a playoff team.”

“This win,” added Hosmer, “could lead to a lot of good things.”