The Padres concluded a disastrous road trip Sunday by being swept by the St. Louis Cardinals, to fall 3.5 games behind in the wild-card race with 13 to play.
The 8-7 loss ended a 2-8 trip, in which the Padres were swept twice, and also saw a viral video lay out tensions between stars Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr.
“You get swept, and, just you know, a brutal road trip,” said manager Jayce Tingler.
The Friars fell behind almost immediately Sunday as a hobbled Jake Arrieta could not make it out of the 1st inning.
He gave up three hits and five runs, but the Padres defense didn’t help. Tatis, returning to the outfield, misplayed a ball in center, allowing the Cards’ first run to score.
Arrieta left with a right-adductor strain, giving way to Craig Stammen.
The Padres narrowed the gap to 5-3 on RBIs in the 3rd inning, by Tatis, and the 4th, by Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers. Tommy Pham added a solo homer in the 6th.
By the 7th, though, the Cards had padded their lead to 8-4. It held up, despite a Padre 8th-inning rally, on a Pham double and a Hosmer ground out, to climb back to within one run.
But the Cardinals quickly retired the Padres in the 9th, including strikeouts by Victor Caratini and Tatis, to seal the sweep. They won their eighth straight.
Saturday’s 3-2 loss, though, was painful in more ways than one. The team gave up a 2-0 lead in the 8th, but a Tatis strikeout prompted the dugout confrontation with Machado.
Tingler got thrown out protecting Tatis, angry with the umpire’s call. When the MVP-candidate demonstrated his displeasure further in the dugout, Machado bellowed at him, apparently about focusing on the team.
Machado, his words picked up on camera and punctuated by expletives, told Tatis “it’s not … about you” and “go … play baseball.”
Tingler downplayed the situation after Saturday’s game, saying the spat showed his players’ “passion” and “frustration.”
On Sunday, he acknowledged the “uphill fight” ahead for his team.
That leads to Tuesday, when the Padres open their final home stand of the year with division-leading San Francisco. They split a four-game series with the Giants before heading to St. Louis.