MLB: Short-handed Padres vie for series sweep of Brewers

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The San Diego Padres’ lineup remains in flux because of an injury wave that had one-third of the team’s starters on the shelf Saturday.

But San Diego is thriving despite being shorthanded, cracking nine homers in the first three games of its series against the National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers. That included three in Saturday’s 6-4 win.

The Padres will aim for a sweep in Sunday’s series finale at home, where they could have one of their stalwarts back in the lineup.

Left fielder Jurickson Profar, who limped off the field in the seventh inning on Friday with a knee injury after legging out a double, said he hopes to be able to play in the series finale. Profar is enjoying the best season of his career, hitting .320 with 10 homers and 48 RBIs.

There isn’t as much clarity about the status of Fernando Tatis Jr., who sat out Saturday after being hit on the elbow by a pitch in the series opener. Tatis also has battled a quad injury since April and was limping noticeably during Thursday and Friday night’s games.

Yet despite their absence and placing catcher Luis Campusano (thumb) on the 10-day injured list, San Diego is gunning for a fifth straight win.

“Winners find solutions,” second baseman Jake Cronenworth said.

Hitting homers usually serves as an elixir. The Padres have belted 29 in their past 16 games, including seven in the past 10 games from rookie center fielder Jackson Merrill. They’re on pace to break their Petco Park record of 101 homers in a year.

Hoping for more support is right-hander Michael King (5-4, 3.49 ERA), who received a no-decision on Tuesday night in a 4-3 loss at Philadelphia. King needed 100 pitches to get through 4 2/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts.

King was a tough-luck loser on April 17 in Milwaukee, fanning 10 and allowing just one run on two hits in 7 2/3 innings but still falling 1-0. It’s his only decision in two career outings against the Brewers.

Milwaukee will try to avoid the sweep behind rookie right-hander Tobias Myers (4-2, 3.26). He earned a 6-3 win Tuesday night at the Los Angeles Angels, firing 6 1/3 scoreless innings and yielding only four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. This will be his first career outing against San Diego.

The Brewers could use some length from Myers. Their starters haven’t lasted longer than 5 1/3 innings in any game of the series, forcing a taxed bullpen to cover more outs than manager Pat Murphy wants. Relievers have been tagged for eight runs over 11 1/3 innings in the series.

“Our bullpen has been great all year,” Murphy said. “Our pitching staff has been great all year. Our pitching staff has won us a lot of games. It’s been a lot of 2-0s, 2-1. This (is) not normal.”

One bright spot for the team has been the hitting of second baseman Brice Turang. He clubbed a grand slam in the ninth inning Saturday, capping a 3-for-4 game that upped his average to .296. He’s 8-for-14 in the series.

–Field Level Media

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