MLB: Padres’ clutch hitting becoming the norm, to D-backs’ detriment

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The way Manny Machado figured it, a one-run deficit going into the bottom of the ninth wasn’t a big deal, even if the San Diego Padres had just blown a 7-2 lead Friday night against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.

“It’s just one run,” he said. “We’ve been in worse situations before and come back.”

And San Diego did what Machado thought it could, rallying for a 10-8 win that Machado himself ended with a two-run, walk-off homer. That gives San Diego a chance to clinch its fifth straight series win Saturday in the middle game of the three-game set.

“It just tells you about this team,” he said of its response to a potentially disastrous loss. “It never stops fighting. It was awesome to have that happy ending.”

Those are the only endings the team seems to have these days at Petco Park. San Diego has won 10 of its last 11 games at home, five in walk-off fashion. Machado’s blast was the Padres’ fourth walk-off homer since June 11.

The Padres have been doing it with offense. They’ve averaged more than six runs per game in winning 12 of their past 15 contests and climbing to a season-high six games over .500. Their 33 innings with at least four runs lead MLB, and their 104 homers are tied for seventh.

Seven players have hit at least 10 homers, giving San Diego the ability to produce the kind of big innings that allow a team to overcome some shortcomings in its pitching. The Padres will hope for length from right-hander Matt Waldron (5-7, 3.56 ERA), scheduled to start Saturday.

In a 4-1 loss Sunday at Boston, Waldron lasted just 4 1/3 innings, permitting six hits and four runs with a walk and three strikeouts. The outing ended a streak of six consecutive quality starts. He’s 1-1 in two outings against Arizona this season.

While the Padres ride momentum into this one, the Diamondbacks have to pick up the pieces after a potentially season-turning win became a gutting defeat. Alek Thomas’ grand slam and Randal Grichuk’s two-run homer that gave them an 8-7 lead were quickly erased when Arizona closer Paul Sewald gave up homers to Jurickson Profar and Machado for his second straight blown save.

Arizona will look to Brandon Pfaadt (3-6, 4.28) for a solid start. He’s coming off a good outing Sunday, going six innings and allowing just one run on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts during the team’s 5-1 win over the Oakland Athletics.

“My overall goal is to pitch six innings-plus every time I go out there,” Pfaadt said. “I think being aggressive, getting ahead with first-pitch strikes, if I’m doing that, then I can go deeper in the games.”

San Diego has posted two wins against Pfaadt this year, including a 10-3 verdict on June 7 when the Padres touched him for five runs in 5 1/3 innings. Pfaadt owns a 4.13 career ERA and 0-2 mark in four starts against the Padres.

The Diamondbacks might have to consider a lineup without All-Star second baseman Ketel Marte after he left Friday night’s game with lower back tightness. Manager Torey Lovullo said after the game that Marte is “day-to-day.”

–Field Level Media

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