CHICAGO (AP) Fernando Tatis Jr. drove in three runs with a pair of singles, lifting the San Diego Padres to a 5-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
With runners at second and third in the seventh, Tatis hit Brandon Hughes’ 2-1 slider past diving Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom to score both and give the Padres a 4-3 lead. He knocked in an insurance run in the ninth with a line shot to center.
Tatis played his sixth game since returning from an 80-game drug suspension. His RBIs were his second, third and fourth since being reinstated. The 24-year-old Tatis missed all of last season, first because of a broken left wrist. When he was about to return, he was hit with his PED suspension for a positive test for the performance-enhancing substance Clostebol.
It's starting to look like Tatis may be back with his characteristic flair and zest. On both of his hits Wednesday, he exited the batter's box with a little extra jump
“It's been such a long time,” Tatis said. "It's just bringing back emotion. It's been kind of a rough start for us.
“Just pumping. Just pushing. You know being loud and being there with teammates and just enjoying it.”
Tatis entered batting .182 with one homer in his first five games. Against the Cubs, he delivered in the clutch more like a player with a 14-year $340 million contract.
“I just say I get the best version of myself in those key moments," Tatis said “I did come through today and hopefully I'll just keep it going.”
Padres manager Bob Melvin hopes so to. His team has struggled at the plate so far and just climbed back to .500 (13-13) with Wednesday's win.
“We've been waiting for him for a year-plus,” Melvin said. “One of the lures of getting to come over here was Fernando Tatis, Jr. So I finally got him back in the lineup and you know nights like this shows you why we need him."
Jake Cronenworth drove in two runs with a triple as the Padres won for the third time in four games.
Chicago’s Trey Mancini lined a two-run homer and singled. Nico Hoerner had an RBI single.
Nick Martinez (2-1) pitched three scoreless innings for the win in his first relief appearance this season after four starts. Josh Hader worked around Yan Gomes' double and a walk in the ninth for his ninth save.
Chicago starter Drew Smyly yielded two runs on four hits in five innings. Hughes (0-1), the second of five Cubs relievers took the loss.
Smyly entered with 2-0 record and 0.98 ERA in his previous three outings. The lefty took a perfect game into the eighth inning in his last start, a 13-0 Cubs win over the Dodgers.
Manager David Ross pulled Smyly after he reached 89 pitches.
“He kind of cruised right there until that one inning (the fourth),” Ross said. “If we get good starts from him consistently, we'll be fine.”
San Diego starter Michael Wacha allowed three runs on four hits in five innings. The right-hander rebounded after two rough starts when he allowed 12 runs on 21 hits in 8 1/3 innings.
Both starters retired the first eight hitters they faced and the 10 of the first 11.
Xander Bogaerts and Nelson Cruz singled with two outs in the fourth, then Cronenworth tripled into the right field corner to drive both in.
“Cronenworth did a breaking ball,” Ross said. “Just got it middle.”
The Cubs tied it at 2 in the bottom half of the fourth on Mancini’s third homer. Hoerner put Chicago ahead 3-2 in the fifth with a two-out RBI single.
With a single in the fourth, San Diego SS Xander Bogaerts extended his on-base streak to all 26 games this season. His overall on-base run is 28, counting the final two games in 2022.
San Diego optioned LHP Ryan Weathers to Triple-A El Paso and recalled LHP Tom Cosgrove. Manager Bob Melvin said the 23-year-old Weathers (1-1, 2.50 ERA in five games) was being sent down “to be built up as a starter,” then would be recalled in a couple of weeks.
Cubs: RHP Jameson Taillon, on the 15-day IL with left groin strain, played catch on Wednesday. … RHP Codi Heuer (Tommy John recovery) threw 25 pitches in a simulated game.
Padres RHP Seth Lugo (2-1, 2.78) starts against Cubs RHP Hayden Wesneski (1-1, 6.23) on Thursday afternoon in the series finale. The Padres get Friday off, then play the Giants in Mexico City on Saturday and Sunday. San Diego is designated as the home team in the two-game set at Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Copyright 2023 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.