SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Diego pitcher Chris Paddack expected the San Francisco Giants to swing for the fences with their playoff hopes at stake.
That's exactly what happened.
Wilmer Flores hit a go-ahead homer in the fourth, Mike Yastrzemski returned from an injury to splash a two-run shot into McCovey Cove the same inning and the Giants beat the Padres 5-4 in the first game of a doubleheader Friday for a key victory in a crowded NL playoff race.
“A hungry team that’s trying to continue to make a little playoff run, I knew they were going to come into this game aggressive with a good game plan,” Paddack said.
The Padres clinched home-field advantage for the wild-card round next week with the Cardinals’ loss to Milwaukee in the first game of a doubleheader. San Diego secured the National League’s No. 4 seed headed to its first postseason in 14 years.
The Giants (29-28) bounced back — barely — after missing a key chance losing in 11 innings to Colorado on Thursday. Wild card-leading Cincinnati began the day 29-28 and was playing a night game at Minnesota.
Tyler Anderson (4-3) allowed five hits over six solid innings, striking out four and overcoming four walks. Tony Watson gave up an RBI single to Fernando Tatís Jr. in the seventh and made a throwing error past first baseman Brandon Belt for another run before Eric Hosmer's sacrifice fly.
The Padres were to be the home team in the second game, which is the makeup of a postponement in San Diego on Sept. 12 after Giants outfielder Alex Dickerson received a false positive COVID-19 test result.
Yastrzemski hit his second career splash hit homer in the bay, also doing so July 29 against the Padres.
Tommy Pham hit an RBI double in the second before Brandon Crawford’s homer off Paddack (4-5) tied it in the bottom half.
Paddack was done after 3 2/3 innings and three home runs among his eight hits surrendered. He seems unconcerned about finding himself for the playoffs.
“We feel like he’s right there and really close,” manager Jayce Tingler said. “I’m sure he’s frustrated because he hasn’t been able to grab the traction he wanted being able to stack a couple good wins back to back.”
San Diego (34-23) is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2006, when the Padres lost in the division series for a second straight year.
Tatís expressed feeling refreshed and well rested after he had a break Wednesday in the series finale against the Angels at Petco Park then a day off Thursday.
He went 1 for 4. Tatís is 5 for his last 31 the past seven games and 6 of 41 spanning the last nine.
“Just resting, seeing the game from a different side, seeing if I could learn some stuff ... just enjoy the day off," he said.
His father offered some encouragement.
“Right now it's just trust it, when this game attacks this way sometimes players lose confidence,” he said. “This game is hard for everybody.”
Padres: RHP Mike Clevinger received a cortisone shot Friday for his troublesome elbow. General manager A.J. Preller said the Padres have not ruled out Clevinger making a start in the wild-card round next week. Clevinger left his start Wednesday after just one inning against the Angels. Tests showed he has a right posterior elbow impingement. “I think we got really good news,” Preller said. Clevinger is expected to rest for 48 hours and then attempt to play catch. He was obtained in a blockbuster trade with Cleveland on Aug. 31. With questions around Clevinger, RHP Dinelson Lamet and RHP Zach Davies would be San Diego's likely 1-2 playoff pitchers.
Giants: OF Yastrzemski, who had missed seven straight starts and six games with a mild right calf strain, returned to start the opener and the hope was he would play Game 2, manager Gabe Kapler said.
RHP Jeff Samardzija comes off the injured list from a lengthy shoulder injury and rehab to pitch the second game as the 29th player for the doubleheader. He is 0-2 making just three starts this season and hasn’t pitched since Aug. 7.
“This is an opportunity he has been asking for, been pushing for,” Kapler said.
Lamet (3-1, 2.07 ERA) takes the mound for the Padres in the nightcap trying to win a second straight decision. He is 1-1 over his last seven outings.
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