Tatis brilliant in 2 HR return, Padres beat Diamondbacks 8-2

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PHOENIX – Fernando Tatis Jr. took a few practice swings and stepped into the batter’s box with his usual swagger. He had one thought running through his head as he returned to San Diego’s lineup.

“Make them remember why they missed you,” he said grinning.

The 22-year-old All-Star certainly accomplished that goal with a stellar return from the injured list, slugging two homers, driving in four runs and leading the Padres to an 8-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

Jake Cronenworth also went deep, helping San Diego stop a four-game losing streak.

Playing right field for the first time in his professional career and batting leadoff, Tatis ripped a double down the third-base line to start the game.

He hit his first homer of the afternoon in the third – a towering solo shot that cleared the wall in left. His 33rd homer came in the fifth and was more of a low liner, but cleared the wall in approximately the same spot and gave the Padres a 2-1 lead.

“Fernando being Fernando,” Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer said. “It never ceases to amaze any of us.”

It was Tatis’ fifth multihomer game this season and No. 8 for his career.

Cronenworth’s two-run shot later in the fifth pushed San Diego ahead 4-1. It was his 17th of the season.

Tatis added a bases-loaded single in the eighth that brought home Victor Caratini and Trent Grisham. Tatis had been on the injured list since July 31 after partially dislocating his left shoulder for the third time this season.

The electrifying star usually plays shortstop, but the Padres decided to move him to the outfield for the time being. The hope is there’s less chance he’ll get hurt, allowing him to stay in the lineup for the rest of the season.

He wasn’t challenged much in the outfield on Sunday but made a few routine catches.

“It was pretty chill,” Tatis said.

The return of Tatis is a huge boost for the Padres, who have 15 players on the injured list and have taken a nosedive in the NL West standings. They still occupy the second NL wild-card spot in the playoff race, but are feeling pressure from the charging Reds, Phillies and Braves.

San Diego’s season arguably reached its nadir the day before on Saturday, when rookie pitcher Tyler Gilbert threw a no-hitter in his first career start against the Padres.

Hosmer said the team had a meeting after the embarrassing loss, hoping that a talk could help them refocus for the last part of the season. For one game, it appeared to work.

“Sometimes in the season, you get lost in what’s going on,” Hosmer said. “It’s such a long, grueling season, it can sometimes beat you down.”

Craig Stammen was the starting pitcher for the Padres in a bullpen game. He pitched two scoreless innings, giving up two hits. Reiss Knehr (1-0) got the win after giving up one run in two innings.

Zac Gallen (1-7) started for the Diamondbacks and surrendered four runs over five innings.

The right-hander was one of the better pitchers in the National League in 2020, finishing ninth in the league’s Cy Young Award voting, but the 26-year-old has struggled for much of this season. He has a 5.03 ERA.

“There have been some tough outings,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.

Arizona’s Josh Rojas hit a solo homer in the fifth. It was his 11th of the season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: Placed RHP Yu Darvish on the 10-day injured list with lower back tightness, retroactive to Friday. Knehr was promoted from Triple-A El Paso. … To make room for Tatis on the roster, the Padres optioned OF Brian O’Grady to Triple-A.

Diamondbacks: Placed RHP Merrill Kelly and LHP Joe Mantiply on the COVID-19 injured list. Called up LHP Miguel Aguilar and RHP Sean Poppen from Triple-A Reno.

UP NEXT

The Padres visit Colorado on Monday. RHP Antonio Senzatela (2-9, 4.71 ERA) is slated to start for the Rockies. The Padres haven’t announced a starter.

The Diamondbacks are off Monday before hosting a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies starting Tuesday. RHP Kyle Gibson (2-1, 3.18 ERA) starts for the Phillies. The Diamondbacks haven’t announced a starter.

Yankees star Judge hits 61st home run, ties Maris’ AL record

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TORONTO — Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run drive for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker with a full-count from left-hander Tim Mayza over the left-field fence at Rogers Centre. The 117.4 mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from the plate, and it put the Yankees ahead 5-3.

Judge watched the ball clank off the front of the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing and tried for a catch. He pumped an arm just before reaching first and exchanged a slap with coach Travis Chapman.

The ball dropped into Toronto’s bullpen and was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, who turned it over to the Yankees.

Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr. rose and hugged from front-row seats. He appeared to point toward them after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team, who gave him hugs after he crossed the plate.

Judge moved past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league mark until Maris broke it in 1961. All three stars reached those huge numbers playing for the Yankees.

Barry Bonds holds the big league record of 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

Judge had gone seven games without a home run – his longest drought this season was nine in mid-August. This was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, leaving them seven more in the regular season.

The home run came in the fourth plate appearance of the night for Judge, ending a streak of 34 plate appearances without a home run.

Judge is hitting .313 with 130 RBIs, also the top totals in the AL. He has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Maris hit No. 61 for the Yankees on Oct. 1, 1961, against Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard.

Maris’ mark has been exceeded six times, but all have been tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year, and Bonds topped him. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris the holder of the “clean” record.

Among the tallest batters in major league history, the 6-foot-7 Judge burst on the scene on Aug. 13, 2016, homering off the railing above Yankee Stadium’s center-field sports bar and into the netting above Monument Park. He followed Tyler Austin to the plate and they become the first teammates to homer in their first major league at-bats in the same game.

Judge hit 52 homers with 114 RBIs the following year and was a unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award. Injuries limited him during the following three seasons, and he rebounded to hit 39 homers with 98 RBIs in 2021.

As he approached his last season before free agent eligibility, Judge on opening day turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year contract worth from $230.5 million to $234.5 million. The proposal included an average of $30.5 million annually from 2023-29, with his salary this year to be either the $17 million offered by the team in arbitration or the $21 million requested by the player.

An agreement was reached in June on a $19 million, one-year deal, and Judge heads into this offseason likely to get a contract from the Yankees or another team for $300 million or more, perhaps topping $400 million.

Judge hit six homers in April, 12 in May and 11 in June. He earned his fourth All-Star selection and entered the break with 33 homers. He had 13 homers in July and dropped to nine in August, when injuries left him less protected in the batting order and pitchers walked him 25 times.

He became just the fifth player to hold a share of the AL season record. Nap Lajoie hit 14 in the AL’s first season as a major league in 1901, and Philadelphia Athletics teammate Socks Seabold had 16 the next year, a mark that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Ruth set the record four times in all, with 54 in 1920, 59 in 1921 and 60 in 1927, a mark that stood until Maris’ 61 in 1961.

Maris was at 35 in July 1961 during the first season each team’s schedule increased from 154 games to 162, and baseball Commissioner Ford Frick ruled if anyone topped Ruth in more than 154 games “there would have to be some distinctive mark in the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154-game schedule.”

That “distinctive mark” became known as an “asterisk” and it remained until Sept. 4, 1991, when a committee on statistical accuracy chaired by Commissioner Fay Vincent voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder.