Fernando Tatis Jr. celebrates with Jurickson Profar during the Padres wild 11-9 comeback over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the wild-card series. Photo credit: @padres, via Twitter

The San Diego Padres seemingly cruised along on the talent and verve of Fernando Tatis Jr. in 2020. Yet they appeared to hit a pothole in their wild-card series with the St. Louis Cardinals,  finding themselves on the verge Thursday of being swept out of the playoffs.

Then Tatis woke up, and Wil Myers along with him, as the Padres took Game 2 with an 11-9 win following a five-homer barrage.

The soaring comeback means the Padres and Cardinals will play Friday for the chance to move on to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series.

Each of the Padres’ homers came after the sixth inning – and Tatis and Myers hit two each, a feat that has not been achieved by teammates in the playoffs since ahem, Yankees Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig did so in 1932.

Myers’ first homer, a shot to left field in the seventh, gave the Padres their first lead of the series, 7-6. It followed what Tatis and Manny Machado did to lift up the team in the sixth.

At that point, manager Jayce Tingler said, “It seemed like everything opened up.”

Tatis, who had left five runners on in two at-bats, came up with one out, after walks to Austin Nola and Jake Cronenworth, and hit a laser to left field off reliever Giovanny Gallegos. It was a no-doubter, and suddenly the Padres, who had looked listless, found themselves within one run of the Cards, 6-5.

Then Manny Machado stepped up against Gallegos and took him long, tying the game.

The tide seemed to have turned, as the Padres – known for their spirit and their comebacks all year – came alive.

“It’s only a matter of time before these bats get going,” Myers said.

Tatis’ second homer, a two-run shot, stretched the lead to 9-6. Myers’ second came in the eighth, with two outs and Jurickson Profar on first, to make it 11-8.

They needed every one of those extra runs, as the Cardinals added two in the eighth and one in the ninth on a home run by Paul Goldschmidt. The Cardinals put two more runners on before Trevor Rosenthal shut them down, earning the save.

The Padres also broke a 0-12 streak in the post-season, as they had never overcome a four-run deficit before in the playoffs.

They found themselves behind 4-0 early Thursday, just as they did in Game 1.

Starter Zach Davies fared little better than his counterpart Chris Paddack against the Cardinals, giving up two runs on a single to Harrison Bader in the second, then two more on a home run to right by Kolton Wong.

The Padres cut the lead to 4-2 in the fourth, but the Cardinals added two more in the sixth. Then the Friars set off on their home-run spree.

The overall effort, though took a huge toll on each side’s pitching staff. The Padres used nine, the Cardinals eight.

Tingler, already short-handed due to injuries to starters Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet,  does not know who will pitch Friday.

“My guess,” he said of his staff’s Game 3 planning, “is it’s going to be a long night.”

NL Wild-Card Game 3, Cardinals vs. Padres, live from Petco Park, Friday, 4 p.m., airing on ESPN.

– Staff reports

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