Padres tie game, walk it off with B2B homers

Padres tie game, walk it off with B2B homers

6:53 AM UTC

SAN DIEGO — Quite a turn of events at Petco Park on Monday night:

One moment, David Dahl sent the fans into a frenzy. The next moment, Ha-Seong Kim sent them home.

For all the sluggers in this loaded Padres lineup, these probably weren’t the two you would pick for back-to-back game-tying and winning home runs in the bottom of the ninth.

And yet, there they were in the Nos. 8 and 9 spots in the lineup, launching a pair of no-doubters as the Padres turned a one-run deficit into a 5-4 victory over the D-backs.

Dahl’s pinch-hit shot tied the game. Kim’s laser into the left-field seats won it, the first walk-off home run of his big league career.

It marked the first time in franchise history the Padres had won a game on back-to-back game-tying and walk-off home runs. It marked the first time in big league history that a team’s 8 and 9 hitters had done so.

“I’m kind of sorry to David since I took all the spotlight,” Kim said afterward.

Dahl didn’t seem to mind.

“I’ve been watching [the Padres] from afar the last couple years here, and they just look so fun,” said Dahl, who forced his way onto the Opening Day roster after signing a Minor League deal with the club during the offseason. “I’m so thankful to be a part of it now.”

Not merely part of it. Dahl’s homer ignited a crowd that had gone quiet half an inning earlier when Evan Longoria’s blast put Arizona on top. No sooner had Dahl circled the bases and touched home plate than the Petco Park sound system blared those three familiar beats.

The crowd only needed to hear it once. They knew what to do.

“Our fans chanting my name — Ha. Seong. Kim. — that always gives me that extra-energy at-bat,” said Kim through Korean interpreter Leo Bae. “David Dahl — great hit, tying home run. I was just wanting to keep that momentum going. I had a great pitch to hit, and I was able to walk it off.”

Kim’s walk-off homer was the first in franchise history from a player who had started the game as the team’s No. 9 hitter (perhaps to be expected after five decades without a designated hitter). Dahl, meanwhile, became the first Padres pinch-hitter to belt a game-tying homer in the ninth inning or later since Hunter Renfroe in 2018 — also against the D-backs.

“Not easy to come off the bench and hit a home run,” said San Diego manager Bob Melvin.

Dahl was a somewhat surprising omission from the starting lineup on Monday, as he’d started each of the previous two games against right-handed pitching. Instead, Rougned Odor got the start in right field, his first career appearance in the outfield.

Odor doubled and scored in the second inning and was solid defensively. But with San Diego clinging to a one-run lead in the seventh, José Azocar entered as a defensive replacement.

Two innings later, the script had flipped. The Padres trailed by a run, and Melvin didn’t want the righty-hitting Azocar facing right-hander Scott McGough. He called for Dahl.

“Honestly, when I saw I wasn’t playing, I just said, ‘Hey, I’m going to come up in a big spot tonight,’” Dahl said. “Just stay ready all game.”

Doesn’t get much bigger than a one-run game in the bottom of the ninth.

Dahl got a thigh-high splitter from McGough that tailed over the heart of the plate. He didn’t miss, launching an opposite-field blast into the second row of seats in left-center.

“At night here, that’s not easy to do,” Melvin said.

Of course, Dahl’s very presence signifies a meaningful shift in the Padres’ roster construction. The moves that made headlines this winter largely revolved around superstars. They added Xander Bogaerts and a slew of pitchers. They extended Manny Machado and Yu Darvish.

But San Diego also spent its winter addressing a crucial area of need: bench depth. The club added Matt Carpenter and Nelson Cruz to serve in a DH platoon with the other coming off the bench. Dahl, meanwhile, was an All-Star with Colorado as recently as 2019.

A year ago, the Padres built a stout starting lineup that had plenty of October success. They were also unsustainably thin on the bench. That became painfully obvious during a few of the biggest moments in the National League Championship Series.

“It’s a little different this year,” Melvin said. “We have a few more options.”

Dahl being one of them. As he strode to the plate in the top of the ninth inning, Padres broadcaster Mark Grant intoned, “It’s bloop-and-a-blast time for San Diego.”

And you know what? A blast and a blast works, too.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *