Sanchez, Snell lead Padres to a win over Rangers for sweep
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Gary Sánchez homered twice, Juan Soto doubled in Fernando Tatis Jr. from first base and left-hander Blake Snell had another strong start for the San Diego Padres, who beat the struggling Texas Rangers 5-3 on Sunday for a three-game sweep.
Hours earlier, Texas announced the acquisition of Max Scherzer from the New York Mets and obtained left-hander Jordan Montgomery from the St. Louis Cardinals. The AL West leaders then lost for the seventh time in nine games while keeping a one-game lead over the Houston Astros, who lost 8-2 to Tampa Bay.
“It's behind us already,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “We're off tomorrow, regroup, see if we can get back on track and and play our brand of ball. It was a tough series. We faced some really good pitching.”
Bochy said the Rangers' batters expanded the strike zone “more than what we had been doing. Just shows you that we were maybe a little anxious, a little amped up. We've got to get back to who we are.”
Josh Hader retired Josh Jung with the bases loaded in the ninth inning for his 25th save in 29 chances.
Padres second baseman Ha-Seong Kim exited with a jammed right shoulder after sliding headfirst into home plate on Xander Bogaerts' sacrifice fly in the third.
The disappointing Padres, who reached the NL Championship Series last season and then bulked up their payroll to about $250 million, must decide by Tuesday's trade deadline whether they'll be buyers or sellers. They came into Sunday buried in fourth place in the NL West, nine games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, and 5 1/2 games out of the third wild-card spot.
The Padres' three-game winning streak matches their season best. It came after two dismal losses to Pittsburgh, which at the time was last in the NL Central. It was just their second three-game sweep of the season.
After the Pittsburgh series, Tatis said the Padres' play had been “terrible.” That all changed in three games.
“It’s huge. I feel like we needed this a long time ago,” Tatis said Sunday. “It was really good baseball this series — offense backing up pitching, pitching backing up offense — and hopefully we can keep this going.”
Snell (8-8), who has been mentioned as a trade possibility, along with Hader, lowered his big league-leading ERA to 2.50 by holding the Rangers to an unearned run and four hits in five innings. He struck out nine and walked four. The only run he allowed came on his throwing error in the fourth.
“It feels good,” Snell said. “Texas is a really, really good team. Great offense. We knew that coming into it and knew we had to make our pitches this series and it went our way.”
As for the looming trade deadline, “I don't want to go anywhere,” Snell said.
Sánchez homered leading off the fourth against Jose Leclerc (0-2) for a 2-1 lead and connected again with two outs in the fifth off Brock Burke for a 4-1 lead. He has 12 this season.
Tatis reached on a fielder's choice in the fourth and scored on Soto's opposite-field double into the corner in left.
The Rangers pulled to 4-3 on Marcus Semien's two-run single off Nick Martinez in the sixth.
Tatis hit an RBI single in the eighth.
Rangers: Placed RHP Nathan Eovaldi on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to Thursday, with a right forearm strain and recalled right-hander Grant Anderson from Triple-A Round Rock.
Padres: Manager Bob Melvin said it's his guess Kim won't play Monday night “but hopefully it's not too long.”
Rangers: Hadn't announced their starter for Tuesday night's opener of a three-game home series against the Chicago White Sox.
Padres: RHP Seth Lugo (4-5, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday night in the opener of a series at Colorado, which will counter with LHP Austin Gomber (8-8, 5.83).
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