And then there were eight.
That would be eight wins in a row for the Padres with just eight games remaining in the season.
Manny Machado did the honors Friday as the Friars welcomed the St. Louis Cardinals to Petco Park to close out their final home stand of the year.
Though he is achy and likely in need of surgery, the slugger hit two home runs in the 4-2 win, including a decisive eighth-inning blast to drive in Juan Soto, who had doubled.
That gives him 30 homers on the year, including the lead-off homer in the sixth that quickly gave Padres a 2-1 lead after the Cards had tied the score in the top of the frame.
Machado, who this week acknowledged that he is leaning toward surgery to correct his elbow issues, nonetheless continues to play, though as a DH, not in the field.
Manager Bob Melvin credited the veteran for his willingness to keep going, and said Machado even took extra pre-game swings Friday. The work paid off, not just for the team, but for the crowd, which showered him with cheers and demanded a curtain call in the eighth.
“He wants to be the best he can be and he certainly was tonight,” Melvin said.
So the Padres, all but dead in the National League wild-card race, find themselves four games out, with a suddenly important series looming in San Francisco Monday.
The Giants – who broke a three-game losing streak Friday in L.A. – Miami and Cincinnati are all ahead of the Padres in the race for the final playoff spot, which is currently held by Chicago.
So, what’s the strategy for Melvin’s team, now that they have found their footing after a season’s worth of troubles? The time for reflection is past, he said.
“Just keep playing, do what we’ve been doing,” the skipper said.