SAN DIEGO (AP) — Hours after saying he would skip the All-Star Home Derby next month, Fernando Tatis Jr. put on his own personal power show.
Tatis hit three homers, energizing Petco Park with the most dynamic performance of his short but spectacular career, as the San Diego Padres sent the Arizona Diamondbacks to their record 24th straight road loss, 11-5 Friday night.
“I have always wanted to hit three or four home runs in a game since I was a kid,” he said after leading the Padres to their eighth win in a row. “I’m glad today I did that.”
Tatis hammered a changeup from Corbin Martin over the left-center wall for a solo home run in the first inning. Tatis connected again in the second for another solo shot on an 80 mph curve from Riley Smith.
In Tatis’ third at-bat, also against Smith, he hit a 415-foot, two-run smash to dead center to put the Padres up 8-5.
The 22-year-old shortstop got two more chances at becoming the 19th player to share the record of four homers in a game.
With the crowd standing and chanting, Tatis hit a sharp single in the seventh inning and then grounded out in the eighth.
“They did a pretty good job on me in the last two at-bats. They handled me, nothing you can do with that. I felt like I missed one pitch and could have hit it out again,” he said.
This was the first three-homer game of Tatis’ career. The last player to hit four in a game was J.D. Martinez, doing it for the Diamondbacks on Sept. 4, 2017, against the Dodgers.
Tatis is tied with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of Toronto for the major league lead with 25 home runs. Guerrero also says he won’t take part in the All-Star Home Run Derby that will be held at Denver’s Coors Field on July 12.
In saying he was out of the competition, Tatis cited his left shoulder, which he said is at 75% following an injury early this season.
Tatis sustained a partial dislocation during a hard swing against San Francisco. He went on the 10-day injured list and returned April 16, then left last Saturday’s game against Cincinnati after diving for a ball at shortstop and re-injuring the shoulder.
“My body is feeling a little bit better and we are getting back on track,” Tatis said. “I am just playing shortstop out there and having fun.”
Tatis leads the NL with 54 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.
Tatis also dazzled on defense against Arizona, making a superb, charging, full-speed grab and throw on a slow roller hit by Christian Walker for the final out in the sixth. Tatis made another similar play to end the game on a slow grounder by Tim Locastro.
“It’s been an amazing time. Seeing full capacity, it just hypes us. It gives us way more energy,” Tatis said. “You can feel the fans, the energy, you want to play your best.”
While Tatis came close to making history, the Diamondbacks continued their dubious run. Arizona hasn’t won on the road in exactly two months, with its last victory away from Chase Field coming on April 25 when Madison Bumgarner threw seven no-hit innings to win in Atlanta.
The Diamondbacks have lost 20 of 21 overall and 34 of 37.
Tommy Pham and Jake Cronenworth also homered for the Padres. Nick Ramirez (1-1) got the win.
Martin (0-3) took the loss.
Diamondbacks: OF Ketel Marte (left hamstring tightness) was available off the bench, according to manager Torey Lovullo. Marte was hurt running the bases Tuesday vs. Milwaukee. He is expected to return to the lineup this weekend….RHP J.B. Bukauskas (right elbow flexor strain) threw a bullpen session on Thursday and is expected to start a rehab assignment soon.
Diamondbacks: RHP Merrill Kelly (3-7, 5.06) pitches in a Saturday night start.
Padres: RHP Dinelson Lamet (2-2, 2.81) takes the hill in the second game of the series.
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