SAN DIEGO (AP) Manny Machado drove in two runs, Joe Musgrove worked six solid innings and Fernando Tatis Jr. and catcher Austin Nola teamed up to punch out a potential tying run at home plate as the San Diego Padres beat the MLB-leading Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 on Sunday to take the three-game series.
“That was the play of the game, on both ends of it. Fantastic throw, which we have seen. Seems like every throw he has had in big situations he has been accurate with it,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said of Tatis. “But on the other end of it, Nola had to make a nice pick and a quick tag and obviously it ended up being a big play. Get some momentum back in us when it looked like it was coming unglued a little bit.”
The Padres were ahead 5-4 in the top of the eighth inning when Tatis threw a near-strike to Nola at the plate to get Manuel Margot, who was trying to tie the game by scoring from second base on a single to right field by Christian Bethancourt.
“I was trying to be one step ahead, anticipating that the ball was coming to me since the beginning. You know, just being calm under the chaos,” Tatis said of his throw that got Margot. “When stuff like that is happening, everything just goes a little bit in slow motion and I am just a little bit ahead of it.”
Nola said Tatis' throw was excellent.
“It was a missile. I just opened my glove and the ball went in there,” Nola said. “He has been putting it right on the money. I don't know if you are going to find a better arm in the outfield in the big leagues than that.”
Rays manager Kevin Cash challenged the call at the plate, but the replay ruling confirmed Margot was out.
“It looked like on replay he was out, but I thought maybe there was a chance of blocking (by Nola) but they confirmed everything,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “Brady (Williams, third base coach) did right, Margot did right. Unfortunately, Tatis did a little bit better.”
The Padres slumped badly in May, going 10-16. San Diego has turned it around in June, piecing together a 10-6 mark and winning seven of its last 10 games. The Padres have won their last three series, beating the Rays, Cleveland Guardians and Colorado Rockies.
“We know we are a good club, we just have to play better consistently. Obviously it is nice to take a series from these guys, as well as they have played this year,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “This game was a bit spirited down to the end, but we held on - one run game, which we have been having some trouble with. So all in all, even though it got a little tight there at the end, I think it was a good game, a good series for us.”
Musgrove (5-2) has won his last four decisions. Against Tampa Bay, he lasted six innings, allowing two runs and six hits with one strikeout.
“There were a couple of innings where I had some runners on early and had to work out of some jams,” Musgrove said. “Even those long innings, I felt like I was decently efficient with pitches.”
Closer Josh Hader worked a scoreless ninth for his 18th save.
With the Padres up 5-2 after Musgrove was lifted, reliever Steven Wilson pitched a scoreless seventh before Nick Martinez gave up two runs in the eighth on singles by Margot and pinch-hitter Harold Ramirez.
Machado drove in solo runs in the third and fifth innings on a sacrifice fly and a single.
The Rays loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth trailing 3-1, but Musgrove limited the damage, surrendering a run on a sacrifice fly by Margot that scored Luke Raley.
“You get one out there and it is a manageable situation,” Musgrove said. “I was trying to get them on the ground there. ... We were able to get the contact and limit it to one run and that was kind of the game right there I felt.”
Rays starter Yonny Chirinos (3-2) went 4-2/3 innings, giving up five runs, three earned, and six hits. Randy Arozarena had three hits in the loss.
In the third inning with Trent Grisham on third and Tatis at first, the Padres' Juan Soto hit a soft roller in front of the plate. Benthancourt threw to second to try and get Tatis, but shortstop Wander Franco mishandled the ball and it rolled into short centerfield, allowing Grisham to score. Tatis ran to third and hesitated before sprinting for home and beating a wild throw from Franco, who made two errors on the play. Soto took third on the play and scored on a sacrifice fly by Machado.
Melvin was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing from the Padres dugout about a check-swing by Franco with the third base umpire.
OF Preston Tucker (plantar fasciitis in right foot) had contract selected, placed on 10-day IL. ... RHP Angel Felipe designated for assignment. ... RHP Seth Lugo (right calf strain), on the 15-day IL, threw a bullpen session on Saturday and could be activated for a start on Tuesday at San Francisco.
Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-0, 3.43) opens a two-game series at home against Baltimore on Tuesday.
Padres: RHP Michael Wacha (7-2, 2.89) takes the mound for the first of four games at San Francisco on Monday.
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