SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres are having fun despite a losing record. Comeback wins like the one against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night are a big reason for the positive vibes.
Pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez slugged a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning, powering the Padres to a 7-3 victory Saturday night and sending the Tigers to their eighth consecutive loss.
Chants of “Sweep! Sweep!” were easily heard outside the Padres’ closed clubhouse after the game.
“There’s a lot of energy on this team,” Sanchez said.
With the Padres trailing 3-2, Shane Greene (1-2) walked leadoff man Erick Aybar to start the eighth. Sanchez, a backup catcher who was batting for pitcher Kirby Yates, was hitting .087 in 23 at-bats when he slammed Greene’s 0-1 pitch for his second homer of the season.
“That guy throws hard, so you try to be early and put a good swing on it,” said Sanchez, who returned from the disabled list Friday.
Padres manager Andy Green said Sanchez provides left-handed power off the bench that the team lacked during his absence dating to early May. He added that Sanchez, who was Tim Lincecum’s personal catcher with the San Francisco Giants, also is an energetic, seasoned leader for a young team.
“There’s a lot of stuff that comes out of his mouth that’s fun to hear,” Green said.
Cory Spangenberg added a two-run single and Austin Hedges drove in another run on a squeeze bunt — both against Alex Wilson — in the Padres’ five-run eighth inning.
Greene was charged with four runs and two hits with two walks in just one-third of an inning.
“It lined up like we wanted,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “Just didn’t get it done.”
Detroit’s losing streak is its longest since also dropping eight in a row from May 28 to June 5 in 2015.
“From me to the coaches to the players, we just haven’t gotten it done. Simple as that,” Ausmus said. “The results we’ve gotten in the last 10 days, we should be embarrassed by. Not embarrassed by the effort — the guys are trying. They care. The results, we should be embarrassed by.”
Yates (2-1) threw a scoreless eighth to earn the win for the Padres, who fell behind 3-2 in the seventh on Andrew Romine’s RBI single off reliever Phil Maton. Romine drove in Justin Upton, whose leadoff double ended the night for rookie starter Dinelson Lamet. He pitched into the seventh for the first time in his six starts, allowing three runs — two earned — and three hits in six innings.
Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez allowed two runs over six innings. His third-inning throw wide of third base off a fielded bunt by Lamet gave San Diego a 1-0 lead.
The Padres and North Carolina high school lefty MacKenzie Gore, drafted third overall last week, agreed to terms on $6.7 million signing bonus. Gore threw a ceremonial pitch to Padres first baseman Wil Myers before the game.
Former Tigers shortstop Allan Trammell shared a memory of arriving at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium for the 1984 World Series between Detroit and the Padres. “There were portable bathrooms near the tunnel into the stadium, and a sign on them said: ‘Detroit Tigers Clubhouse. I thought that was great,” said Trammell, a Tigers executive and San Diego resident.
Tigers: 3B Nicholas Castellanos was back in the lineup after tightness in his lower back held him out of the lineup Friday.
Padres: SS Allen Cordoba left with a bruised left hand after he was hit with a pitch in the third inning. Chase d’Arnaud replaced him. … LF Alex Dickerson will have back surgery on Wednesday. He was supposed to play left field and bat cleanup for the Padres, but hadn’t played since he was shut down in March.
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (5-5, 5.25) is 3-1 with an ERA of 0.50 in five career starts at Petco Park.
Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (5-7, 4.20) has induced a league-leading 174 groundballs this season.