The San Diego Padres have forced a Game 3 in their NL Wild Card Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Thursday night at Petco Park in San Diego, the Padres completed a late comeback (SD 11, STL 9) to avoid elimination. Thursday's game featured five home runs from San Diego's lineup -- all coming in the sixth inning or later.
Thanks to the homers -- courtesy of Fernando Tatis Jr. (two), Manny Machado and Wil Myers (two) -- the Padres erased a 6-2 deficit. Padres superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. kicked off the comeback effort with a three-run home run in the sixth inning. Tatis followed up with another home run, a two-run shot, in his next at-bat. The Cardinals scored two runs in the eighth to come back within one. A Paul Goldschmidt solo home run in the ninth kept it close, but San Diego held on for the win.
Here are takeaways from Game 2:
Padres offense comes alive just in time
Up until Fernando Tatis Jr.'s sixth-inning home run, San Diego's offense had looked awfully quiet in the series. The lineup had recorded just four runs and eight hits in their Game 1 loss, and no one hit a home run.
The Padres are playing in just their sixth playoff berth in franchise history, and their first since 2006. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are veterans to the playoffs. In the win-or-go-home situation, it was made clear that the Padres do best when rallying around each other. Especially the 2-3-4 punch of Tatis, Machado and Myers.
During the regular season, the Padres scored 5.42 runs per game, which was good for third in the National League along with 95 home runs, the third-best mark in the NL. San Diego holds the advantage over St. Louis when it comes to offense, and now it seems like the club found its rhythm just in time.
History made with homers
The Padres come-from-behind win was certainly a memorable one. It was also a historic one. With Tatis and Myers' both posting multi-homer games, the duo made history as the just the second pair of teammates to record multi-home run games in the same postseason contest. The pair they joined? Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig of the 1932 Yankees.
San Diego still hurt by rotation injuries
Entering Game 3 of this series, the Padres are still facing several uncertainties with their rotation due to injuries. Two Padres starters are still notably absent from the rotation. Trade deadline acquisition, right-hander Mike Clevinger may not be available at all for the remainder of this year's playoffs, and right-hander Dinelson Lamet is rehabbing from tightness in his right biceps. A Game 3 starter for San Diego has yet to be determined and manager Jayce Tingler said he had "no idea" who would start in Game 3 after the Game 2 win.
The Cards roughed up Game 1 starter Chris Paddack before knocking in four earned runs off right-hander Zach Davies in Game 2. In a perfect world, with Clevinger and Dinelson as No. 1 and No. 2, the Padres could have very well completed a sweep to advance. But, alas, they're going to have to continue to improvise for their next elimination game.
For St. Louis, the Cardinals are going to send out their ace in right-hander Jack Flaherty.