Cronenworth hits grand slam, Padres beat Marlins 10-3

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MIAMI – Jake Cronenworth hit a grand slam in the first inning, Ha-Seong Kim also drove in four runs, and the San Diego Padres beat the Miami Marlins 10-3 on Wednesday.

Kim went 3-for-4 with two doubles. Juan Soto reached base three times and scored twice for the Padres, who avoided a three-game sweep.

All-Star Manny Machado went 2-for-4, extending his streak of multiple-hit games to eight. The Miami native finished 6-for-11 for San Diego in the three-game series. The Padres’ Josh Bell ended an 0-for-26 skid with a double in the ninth.

“We want to play better but I think today was more about getting in a good game and going home,” said Padres manager Bob Melvin, whose club finished a 3-3 trip.

Cronenworth’s two-out blast against Pablo Lopez (7-8) followed singles from Soto and Machado and a walk to Bell. It was Cronenworth’s 12th homer this season and second career grand slam.

In the Padres’ 4-3 loss Tuesday, Cronenworth went hitless twice late with runners in scoring position.

“It’s hard to pick and choose when you do,” Cronenworth said. “You just want to have the best at-bat you can. They just happened to make some really good pitches on me (Tuesday). Got a pitch I could handle today and put a good swing on it.”

The Padres capped a five-run first on Kim’s RBI double.

“It’s good to see the offense come around, especially the first inning,” Melvin said. “They had good energy, good at-bats and put up a five spot. Certainly it was good feeling going through the rest of the game.”

The Marlins cut into the deficit and ended Padres starter Mike Clevinger‘s outing after 4 1/3 innings. Jon Berti hit a run-scoring double in the first and Jacob Stallings added an RBI single in the fourth.

Brandon Drury had an RBI groundout in the fifth for San Diego. Brian Anderson‘s run-scoring double in the bottom half got the Marlins within 6-3.

After Clevinger’s exit, Adrian Morejon (2-0) threw 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Morejon struck out Charles Leblanc and pinch-hitter Jesus Aguilar with the bases loaded to end Miami’s threat in the fifth.

Kim had a bases-clearing double against Miami reliever Elieser Hernadez in the ninth. Hernandez also surrendered a three-run double to Machado on Tuesday.

Clevinger allowed three runs on six hits and four walks.

“I didn’t find it today,” Clevinger said. “I had good teammates behind me to pick me up. I had issues attacking the zone.”

Lopez lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing six runs.

“As a starting pitcher, it’s my job to set a good tone for the game and I set a very bad tone for this game, and I take responsibility for that,” Lopez said.

WALKS PAY OFF

The Padres’ RBIs in the first were preceded by walks. Bell worked a full count against Lopez before reaching. Trent Grisham also walked ahead of Kim’s liner to the warning track in left that scored him from first.

“All those things end up maybe not being the sexiest thing in the box score but end up providing us better at-bats and more production after that,” Melvin said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: LHP Daniel Castano (concussion) continues to rehab but has not begun throwing yet.

UP NEXT

Padres: Return home for a four-game series against Washington starting Thursday. RHP Yu Darvish (10-6, 3.40 ERA) is scheduled to start the opener for San Diego against RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-5, 7.20).

Marlins: LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-5, 3.72) will start the opener of a three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers and LHP Tyler Anderson (13-2, 2.81) on Friday.

Cards’ Pujols hits 700th career home run, 4th to reach mark

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run on Friday night, connecting for his second drive of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and becoming the fourth player to reach the milestone in major league history.

The 42-year-old Pujols hit No. 699 in the third inning, then launched No. 700 in the fourth at Dodger Stadium.

With the drive in the final days of his last big league season, Pujols joined Barry Bonds (762 homers), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs.

It’s been a remarkable run for Pujols. This was his 14th home run since the start of August for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, and his 21st of the season.

Pujols’ historic homer was a three-run shot against Dodgers reliever Phil Bickford. The ball landed in the first few rows of the left-field pavilion, the same location his two-run shot touched down the previous inning off left-hander Andrew Heaney.

Pujols received a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd – he finished out last season while playing for the Dodgers. He took a curtain call, raising his cap in acknowledgment.

The fans chanted “Pujols! Pujols!” They finally sat down after being on their feet in anticipation of seeing history.

Pujols snapped a tie with Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the list when he hit career homer No. 697 against Pittsburgh on Sept. 11.

Reaching 700 homers seemed like a long shot for Pujols when he was batting .189 on July 4. But the three-time NL MVP started to find his stroke in August, swatting seven homers in one 10-game stretch that helped St. Louis pull away in the division race.

“I know that early in the year … I obviously wanted better results,” Pujols said after he homered in a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 22. “But I felt like I was hitting the ball hard. Sometimes this game is going to take more away from you than the game (is) giving you back.

“So I think at the end of the day you have to be positive and just stay focused and trust your work. That’s something that I’ve done all the time.”

Pujols has enjoyed a resurgent season after returning to St. Louis in March for a $2.5 million, one-year contract. It’s his highest total since he hit 23 homers for the Angels in 2019.

He plans to retire when the season ends.

Pujols also began his career in St. Louis. He was selected by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 amateur draft and won the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year award.

The Dominican Republic native hit at least .300 with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first 10 seasons. He helped the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.

He set a career high with 49 homers in 2006 – one of seven seasons with at least 40 homers. He led the majors with 47 homers in 2009 and topped the NL with 42 in 2010.

Pujols left St. Louis in free agency in December 2011, signing a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Angels. He was waived by the Angels in May 2021, and then joined the Dodgers and hit 12 homers and drove in 38 runs in 85 games.