Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. looks to stop slump vs. Astros

National Sports

Fernando Tatis Jr. experienced an outstanding return from the injured list nearly three weeks ago and then cooled off.

So did the San Diego Padres, who hope Tatis and the rest of their offense can follow up a productive showing when they host the Houston Astros in the rubber game of a three-game series on Sunday afternoon.

On Aug. 15, Tatis returned from a two-week absence due to a partially dislocated left shoulder and slugged two homers and drove in four runs in an 8-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Tatis held a .300 season average at the time, but it’s dropped to .282 as he is hitting .193 (12-for-62) since his return game.

In Saturday’s 10-2 win, Tatis hit a go-ahead two-run single in a four-run second inning and then added a two-run homer in the eighth. Tatis also reached four times and his second walk set up two-run homers by Manny Machado and Wil Myers in the seventh.

“It was good to see offense coming around,” Myers said. “That was something that we needed for a while. It was good to kind of roll a team and not have an eighth or ninth with it being pretty close. It was good to go out there and get a lot of runs on the board. It was good for the offense to get that going and I hope we carry that into tomorrow.”

The Padres (72-64) won for only the sixth time in 21 games and enter Sunday one-half game behind the Cincinnati Reds in the chase for the National League’s second wild card spot. Tatis’ big game also highlighted San Diego’s first game with double-digit runs since July 17 at Washington.

“It felt like when Manny put a charge in that ball, I don’t know, it took something with it. It took a weight off the shoulders and guys, you started to see the smiles and just the body language and all that,” San Diego manager Jayce Tingler said.

Houston is 4-4 heading into the finale of a nine-game road trip. The Astros won the first two games of the trip as part of a four-game winning streak but are 2-4 since and have been held to two runs or less four times in that span.

Of bigger concern for Houston’s offense is the left leg of slugger Yordan Alvarez. The Astros (79-56) said he is day-to-day with a leg contusion after fouling a ball off his leg in the fifth and getting helped off the field.

The good news for now is manager Dusty Baker does not think Alvarez will go on the injured list after X-rays were negative.

“I saw (Alvarez) walking in the clubhouse after the game, so that was good news,” Houston catcher Martin Maldonado said. “I told him the next time he comes up to bat, he can use my shin guard.”

Seeking its second straight series win, San Diego will send Chris Paddack (7-6, 4.98 ERA) to the mound for his second start since missing over a month with a strained left oblique. He has yet to face the Astros in his career.

Rookie Luis Garcia (10-6, 3.23) will start for Houston and make his first career appearance against San Diego.

–Field Level Media

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