Manny Machado at spring training.
Manny Machado at spring training. Photo by Chris Stone

The Padres began a seven-game road trip Monday in St. Louis with one key question answered – slugger Manny Machado returned despite an arm issue.

It didn’t help though, as the team lost 6-3 to the Cardinals, with the big blow, a two-run homer, coming from Paul Goldschmidt in the seventh inning.

In the Padres’ half of the inning, though, with one out and one on, the umpire called Machado out for interference on catcher Yadier Molina. Both the third baseman and his manager thought it was a foul tip off Machado’s bat.

The slugger had missed the last two games at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates – a walk-off 4-2 win Sunday and Saturday’s 4-2 loss – due to what the team described as “tennis elbow.”

That was a blow as the team’s star third baseman has been hot all year, hitting .357 to lead the National League. He’s second in the NL with 60 hits.

Manager Bob Melvin explained that resting Machado was more of a precaution, given the lengthy season.

The Padres won the series Sunday thanks to MacKenzie Gore and Trent Grisham.

They staked the rookie starter to a 2-0 lead while Gore pitched seven innings of two-hit ball with nine strikeouts. But Nabil Crismatt gave up two runs in the eighth and the game would go to extras.

That’s when Grisham came through. The centerfielder came up with Jorge Alfaro placed on second in the 10th and slammed the game-winning home run, a blast that bounced off the right field foul pole. Luis García got the win.

Blake Snell takes the mound Tuesday with Yu Darvish to follow Wednesday.

The Padres finish the trip in Milwaukee with a four-game set before returning home to face the New York Mets June 6.

Updated 8:35 p.m. May 30, 2022