Padres pile on 3 homers in finale victory vs. Jays
By Gregor Chisholm and A.J. Cassavell
TORONTO -- The Padres avoided a three-game sweep in their first series north of the border, and it should come as no surprise that home runs were the main reason why.
Adam Rosales, Brett Wallace and Alex Dickerson each went deep in San Diego's 8-4 victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon at Rogers Centre. Christian Bethancourt added a Little League home run after he doubled in the fourth but was able to keep running thanks to a pair of Toronto errors on the play.
All nine players in San Diego's starting lineup reached base at least once, and the Padres have now homered in a National League-record 25 consecutive games, which is a franchise record and the longest in the Majors since 2002. Texas holds the all-time record with home runs in 27 straight games.
"We have a lot of offensive talent," said Dickerson, who has homered in four straight. "Every single guy is a threat to take you deep, for the most part. There's a lot of depth here -- including Triple-A and here -- that there's a lot on the horizon, offensively."
Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was charged with the loss after he allowed seven runs (six earned) on four hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings. He made this start on three days' rest, because Toronto wanted to use right-hander Marco Estrada in the series opener vs. Baltimore on Friday night at Rogers Centre.
"Looking back at tape, sometimes they're pretty good pitches," said Dickey, who has allowed 26 home runs in 22 starts this season. "Like the one Wallace hit out today was a good one that knuckled down late, he just kind of dove down and got it, a wall-scraper out. … One will come out of your hand, and it won't do much, and the next one will be like the best one you've ever thrown. Just have to have a short-term memory and keep going."
Kevin Pillar provided one of the lone bright spots on offense for the Blue Jays, as he went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. With the loss, Toronto remained two games back of the first-place Orioles, who lost, 3-1, to the Rockies in Baltimore.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Everybody hits: The Padres' power has come from everywhere during their home run streak, as evidenced by Rosales and Wallace -- typically bench players -- going yard Wednesday. During the 25-game stretch, 10 players have gone deep. As he always does after home runs, Rosales sprinted around the basepaths during his third-inning roundtripper -- and he actually came within about 30 feet of catching Wallace, who was on first at the time.
"It's nice to see everybody contribute," said Padres manager Andy Green. "It's nice to get Adam Rosales in the game and see him swing the bat like that. It's nice to see Brett Wallace get into the mix. He's been through a rough stretch, and now he's coming back. It's great to see." More >
Signs of life: Toronto appeared to be completely down and out until the bottom of the sixth when the club finally pieced together a rally. With two outs, Edwin Encarnacion walked and Melvin Upton Jr. hit a single to right. Pillar followed with a two-run double off the wall in left field and later came around to score on an RBI single by Ezequiel Carrera. That cut the Padres' lead to three, but it was as close as the Blue Jays would get.
Little League blast: Bethancourt hit a pair of doubles Wednesday -- one of the conventional variety and one less so. He sent a rocket to the right-center-field wall in the fourth, which was bobbled by center fielder Pillar, allowing Bethancourt to reach third. The throw from second baseman Devon Travis got away, and Bethancourt scampered home, giving the Padres a 4-0 lead on a double with two errors.
"That's one of those plays that happens now and then, but that's rare for us," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "What happened sometimes is that ball is in the gap, and there's a chance for three. ... It's tough to slow yourself down and grab that thing. Balls sometimes take that tricky hop, too. That's unusual for us."
Said Bethancourt: "I got tired, but I'm glad we scored those two runs."
Rookie raking: Not only are the Padres working on a record-setting home run streak as a team, but Dickerson is fast approaching one of his own. His solo blast in the eighth was his fourth in as many games, the longest streak ever by a Padres rookie -- and one shy of tying the all-time rookie mark, set most recently by the Dodgers' Joc Pederson last season.
"He looks like a video game," Bethancourt said. "Alex has been amazing, and now every time that he's in the batter's box, you think he's going to hit a homer."
Perdomo improving with age: In Green's eyes, 23-year-old starter Luis Perdomo "has made his biggest strides as a player in the Major Leagues this year."
It's hard to argue with his logic. Perdomo was very sharp again Wednesday before allowing three runs in his final frame. He finished having allowed four earned runs over 5 2/3, but that line didn't do Perdomo justice, as he kept one of baseball's best lineups off-balance.
"He was facing some really good hitters, and you look at the swings they take on his sinker, and they're really uncomfortable swings," Green said. "Overall, couldn't be more pleased with him, his progress."
Perdomo's sinker was so impressive Wednesday that veteran Blue Jays first baseman Encarnacion turned to Bethancourt to ask, "Where did he come from?" according to Bethancourt.
"Tell him to keep doing it," Encarnacion told the Padres catcher. "It's great."
"You have to be kind of like a robot in these situations and just keep going forward. It's not the first time I've had a little bit of adversity." -- Dickey, on his rough outing
"I'd like to win 25 games in a row; 25 homers, it's cool. But we're all about winning." -- Rosales
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Dickey picked off Wil Myers at first base during the first inning. It was Dickey's fourth pickoff of the year, which is tied with four other pitchers for most in the Majors this season.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres:Edwin Jackson carried a no-no into the seventh during his Padres debut at Petco Park on July 17. He'll get the ball Friday night against the Reds, with first pitch slated for 7:40 p.m. PT. Brandon Finnegan, who has allowed homers in six straight games, starts for Cincinnati, as the Friars look to extend their home run streak to 26 games.
Blue Jays: The Blue Jays will enjoy a day off on Thursday before they open a crucial three-game series against the Orioles on Friday night at Rogers Centre. Right-hander Marco Estrada (5-4, 2.94 ERA) will take the mound as Toronto attempts to gain ground on first-place Baltimore. Estrada was originally scheduled to pitch Wednesday, but the Blue Jays pushed him back a couple of days so he could start during this important series.