Pushed to the brink in the MLB wild-card round on Thursday, the San Diego Padres returned to a strategy that worked well for them during the regular season: Hit an excessive amount of home runs.
Entering the bottom of the sixth inning, the Padres — down 0-1 in the three-game series — found themselves losing 6-2 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
By the end of the sixth inning, it was a tie game after back-to-back home runs from Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado. One inning later, Wil Myers hit another homer to make it 7-6.
Then Tatis went up again and did this:
If only there was a crowd in San Diego to properly soundtrack that moment. As big as the homer was, the bat flip seemed to make it a true moment of arrival for Tatis, MLB’s biggest breakout star this season.
Here’s a better angle of what Tatis did after seeing where the ball was going.
After the game, Tatis said that bat flip wasn’t even the best of his career. The best came during his time in Dominican winter ball. Fortunately, there is video:
Fernando Tatis Jr. said his spectacular bat flip tonight actually wasn’t the best of his career. That, he said, came in Dominican winter ball when he was playing for the Estrellas team managed by his father.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 2, 2020
He is telling the truth. pic.twitter.com/zPOpUksoli
After trading a few more runs, the Padres eventually pulled out the 11-9 win to force a Game 3 with a trip to the NLDS on the line.
Incredibly, Tatis had been having a brutal (two-game) series before going yard twice. He had left five runners on base in Game 1 against the Cardinals, then five more before the sixth inning Thursday night.
Instead of facing tired questions about whether he was ready for the playoffs, he’s now getting shoutouts from not only the bat flip-adoring baseball public, but across sports:
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