Yastrzemski homers, drives in 2 runs as the Giants beat the Padres 7-2

Sep 1, 2023, 8:35 AM

Third base coach Mark Hallberg #91 congratulates Mike Yastrzemski #5 of the San Francisco Giants af...

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 31: Third base coach Mark Hallberg #91 congratulates Mike Yastrzemski #5 of the San Francisco Giants after his solo homerun during the fifth inning of a game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on August 31, 2023 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Mike Yastrzemski homered and drove in two runs and Jakob Junis opened with four hitless, scoreless innings on Thursday night that opened a one-game lead over Arizona for the NL’s third wild-card spot.

That solid job by opener Junis and one big inning on offense were enough to carry the San Francisco Giants to a 7-2 victory over the sloppy, listless San Diego Padres.

Junis and three relievers combined on a seven-hitter. The Giants were up 7-0 before the Padres got their first hit, a single by Matthew Batten with two outs in the fifth off former Padres pitcher Sean Manaea (5-5).

Junis struck out three and walked one in four hitless, scoreless innings. Manaea allowed one run and three hits in 3 1/3 innings, while walking five and striking out two. He loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth but the Padres failed to score.

“That was about all Jake was ready for today,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “That was a good workload for Junis. He pitched great, obviously. The slider was really working.”

Junis said “having three pitches and mixing the changeup in there has been really beneficial for me. Limit the damage. Keeping the ball in the ballpark. I was giving up some home runs earlier in the year when I was going through tough stretches. Pounding the zone and doing what I do and attacking guys and good things are happening.”

Yastrzemski had an RBI single in the third, when the Giants scored six runs, five of them unearned due to two errors by first baseman Matthew Batten. The Padres had three errors overall, tying their season high.

The Giants sent 10 batters to the plate in the third and had five hits and a sacrifice fly to go along with Batten’s two errors. Blake Sabol had an RBI double while Joc Pederson, Yastrzemski and Wade Meckler had run-scoring singles.

“Big innings are just so critical to winning baseball games,” Kapler said. “One-run innings are good, two-run innings are good, but you put up those crooked numbers and it makes it very difficult to come back. You get a little cushion, it gives a little confidence to the pitcher and then they go through the innings a little easier.”

Yastrzemski homered to left off Matt Waldron leading off the fifth for a 7-0 lead. It was his 12th.

The Padres were coming off a 1-5 trip through Milwaukee and St. Louis that badly damaged whatever hopes they have of returning to the playoffs. The Padres have been a massive disappointment after reaching the NL Championship Series last year and then beefing up their payroll to about $250 million, the third-highest in the majors. They are 8 1/2 games out of the final wild-card spot.

Padres starter Pedro Avila (0-2) allowed six runs, one earned, on six hits in three innings. He struck out five and walked two.

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