SAN DIEGO (AP) — A COVID-19 outbreak that sidelined star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and three other key position players hasn’t slowed the San Diego Padres in the slightest.
On Sunday, it was a cast of call-ups that came up big for the Padres. Among them: Rookie Ivan Castillo, who had a pinch RBI single for his first big league hit to cap a go-ahead, four-run rally in the fourth inning of a 5-3 victory against the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals that completed a three-game sweep.
“We’re just a big group of men coming together and pulling for one another,” manager Jayce Tingler said.
The Padres are 5-1 since Tuesday, when Tatis tested positive for the coronavirus before a game at Colorado and right fielder Wil Myers and first baseman Eric Hosmer were pulled from the game. A positive test was returned for Myers while Hosmer was put in the contact tracing protocol. Also Tuesday, infielder/outfielder Jurickson Profar and utilityman Jorge Mateo were sidelined because of contact tracing.
The Padres have made their newcomers feel welcome.
“I think it’s our environment in the clubhouse, just how welcoming we are with our guys,” Tingler said. “Our leadership team, our veteran players, do a tremendous job of bringing people in whether it’s your first game in the big leagues or you’ve been maybe a journeyman and bounced around. You’re a Padre and you’re a part of the family. It’s a great environment in that clubhouse.
“We’re having a blast right now,” the manager added.
It was the first meeting between the teams since the Padres took two of three from the Cardinals to win a wild-card playoff series last season.
The Padres had to bring up several minor leaguers, and three of them had a hand in the rally in the fourth, when the Padres scored four runs with the benefit of just two hits. Three of the runs were unearned because of a throwing error on eight-time NL Gold Glove Award winner Nolan Arenado on Manny Machado’s grounder, leading to a rough inning for left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim.
After Arenado airmailed the throw to first, Machado was forced on Jake Cronenworth’s grounder. The next four Padres batters reached and the bases were loaded three times. Kim issued consecutive bases-loaded walks to Tucupita Marcano, who was recalled from Triple-A on Tuesday, and rookie Kim Ha-seong to tie the game at 2.
Genesis Cabrera relieved Kim and Patrick Kivlehan, brought up from Triple-A on Wednesday, gave the Padres the lead with a sacrifice fly. Castillo, pinch-hitting for rookie starter Ryan Weathers, hit an opposite-field single to right for a 4-2 lead.
Castillo was promoted from Triple-A on Friday and made his big league debut that night.
“It’s only a matter of time. This lineup is going to happen,” said center fielder Trent Grisham, who made a spectacular diving catch to end the first inning with runners on second and third, and hit an RBI double in the sixth. “It’s just a matter of when, not if. It all came together these last six days. We’ve been going good and we’re going to try to keep it rolling.”
Kim (1-1) allowed four runs, one earned, and two hits in 3 1/3 innings, with three strikeouts and three walks.
Weathers allowed two runs on four hits in four innings, including Arenado’s two-run homer in the first, his ninth. Dinelson Lamet (1-0), who finished fourth in the NL Cy Young Award balloting in 2020, piggybacked on Weathers’ start and went two innings, allowing one run and two hits while striking out two and walking two.
Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his big league-leading 14th save in as many chances.
Weathers also got his first big league hit, a single up the middle with two outs in the third.
Lamet is being brought back slowly from an elbow issue that forced him out of his final regular-season start of 2020 and sidelined him during the playoffs. He has made three starts this year, going two innings each time, and had a stint on the IL with right forearm inflammation.
Lamet pitched a perfect fifth, including two strikeouts. Tingler called it “electric, explosive. He threw some Lamet sliders, with depth, tight rotation.”
Marcano backed Lamet by starting a slick 4-6-3 double play on Yadier Molina’s grounder in the sixth. Paul Goldschmidt scored on the play. Grisham made a diving catch of Harrison Bader’s sinking liner to end the first with runners on second and third.
Cardinals: LF Tyler O’Neill, who misjudged Grisham’s RBI double in the sixth, later left the game with what the team said was left hand/finger discomfort. … 2B Max Moroff needed treatment after being knocked down in a collision with RF Dylan Carlson going after a lazy fly ball hit by Austin Nola in the seventh. Carlson made the catch. Moroff stayed in the game.
Padres: Tingler said RHP Keone Kela will fly to Texas on Monday to get a second opinion on his right elbow. He’s been on the injured list since May 8.
Cardinals: RHP John Gant (2-3, 1.83 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who will counter with RHP JT Brubaker (3-2, 2.58).
Padres: RHP Yu Darvish (3-1, 2.08) is scheduled to start Monday night in the opener of a three-game home series against the Colorado Rockies, who are scheduled to start RHP Jon Gray (4-3, 2.93).