Upton homers, drives in 3 to lift Angels past Padres 7-3
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Taylor Ward acted like it was his first day in the majors everywhere but in the batter’s box.
Ward went with a pitch and hit an opposite-field RBI double in his first major league at-bat, and had two hits and reached safely three times as the Los Angeles Angels beat the San Diego Padres 7-3 on Tuesday night.
“I’m not trying to hit the ball over there, but if they give it to me over there I’ll hit it there,” said Ward, who became the 13th player to debut in the majors for the Angels this year.
“He had the normal butterflies that any youngster would have, when he came up, and looked really comfortable in the batter’s box,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He did a great job.”
After the game, Ward reverted to the kid on his first night in the majors, clutching a baseball as he answered questions. When asked if it was the ball he connected with for his first hit, Ward said, “It sure is. I’m about to give it to my dad in about three minutes.”
Justin Upton had three hits, including a home run for the second straight night, and drove in three runs for the Angels, who’ve taken two in a row from the Padres.
“I had a lot of fun when I played here, and always enjoyed the ballpark,” said Upton, who spent 2015 in a Padres uniform. “It’s fun place to play. I’ve had some stretches where I’ve been seeing the ball well this year. I just feel like right now I’m getting a few more pitches to hit.”
Like the 1-1 pitch from Brett Kennedy that Upton crushed 435 feet into the left-center field bleachers for his 26th homer of the season to make it 5-1 in the fifth inning.
“He was locating his fastball really well, but he just made a mistake,” Upton said of Kennedy.
Upton, who capped the Angels’ 10-inning win Monday night with a two-run homer, added an RBI single in the seventh.
“The way he has been swinging it this week, he’s given us a big lift,” Scioscia said. “He’s htting the ball hard, getting good at-bats, driving in runs, doing things he’s capable of doing.”
Freddy Galvis hit his third home run in three games for the Padres, a solo shot with one out in the fourth. It’s the first time in his career that Galvis has homered in three consecutive games.
Eric Young Jr. tripled and had two RBIs for Los Angeles. Young’s triple came in the fourth when his liner to right-center field scooted past San Diego right fielder Travis Jankowski all the way to the wall, scoring Ward from first base.
Jaime Barria (8-7) held the Padres to one run and six hits in five innings, striking out seven while walking one, for his third victory in four starts after losing six in a row.
“He battled. He was missing up a lot and a lot of counts got away from him,” Scioscia said. “He pitched a good five innings, but he had to work hard to get there.”
Kennedy (0-2) gave up five runs and nine hits over five innings in his second major league start. He lost his debut on Aug. 8 after becoming the first pitcher in the modern era (after 1900) to give up three consecutive home runs in the first inning of his debut.
“He has to have better command up here,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “The consistency that they hit that middle fastball is a little different than at Triple-A.”
Ward, the 26th overall pick in the 2015 draft, was called up Monday night after posting a .349 average with 14 homers and 60 RBIs over 102 games split between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake.
“He didn’t get too many at-bats on the major league side in spring training, but looking at him on the minor league side you could see he had the potential to do what he’s doing this year,” Scioscia said.
After recording eight assists and a putout in his debut at third base Monday night, Wil Myers made a fine play at the position in the second inning, barehanding a slow roller and throwing out Andrelton Simmons at first.
Manuel Margot’s single with one out in the second snapped a 0-for-16 slump. Travis Jankowski stole his 20th base of the season.
Angels: Shohei Ohtani came out of Monday night’s 33-pitch bullpen session in “good” shape, Scioscia said. Ohtani is expected to throw a bullpen session Wednesday, increasing the intensity and number of his pitches. ... 1B Albert Pujols got the night off.
Padres: C Austin Hedges got the night off after starting 11 of the previous 13 games.
Angels: RHP Felix Pena (1-3, 4.95 ERA) makes his 10th start of the season for the Angels in the series finale. In his three road starts, Pena is 1-1 with a 1.84 ERA.
Padres: LHP Robbie Erlin (2-3, 3.36) is set to face the Angels for the first time. Erlin has made four starts and 27 relief appearances this year.