SAN DIEGO — The Padres continued to tidy up Thursday at Petco Park.
After sweeping the Rockies, they poured water on the Giants.
With a 6-1 victory, the Padres dropped their magic number for clinching second place in the National League West to 10.
(That means with 14 games remaining for the Padres and 15 for the Giants, any combination of Padres wins and Giants losses that equal 10 clinches second place for the Padres.)
The only thing keeping the night from being just another step toward what seems an inevitable march to the franchise's first postseason appearance in 14 years was the departure of starting pitcher Chris Paddack after the second inning due to a sprained ankle.
The team announced X-rays on the ankle were negative and pronounced Paddack's status as "day-to-day."
The Padres were up 3-1 when he left.
They continued their recent habit of starting quickly by scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Trent Grisham and Fernando Tatis Jr. started the Padres' half of the first with singles and scored on Mitch Moreland's double to the wall in center field. On the next pitch, Austin Nola skipped a double off the warning track in left-center that scored Moreland.
The Padres have scored 10 runs in the first inning over their past three games after scoring a total of just 22 first-inning runs in their first 43 games.
Unlike the previous two nights, when the Rockies scored in the top half of the first, the Padres led 3-0 going into the second inning because Paddack had retired the side to start the game. It was just the second time he had done so this season.
With out in the second, Wilmer Flores homered to left field on an 0-1 fastball that was left a little lower in the zone than Paddack would have liked at 93 mph.
Paddack followed by striking out Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford.
Manny Machado's 13th home run of the season made it 4-1 in the third. Jorge Ona's first major league home run upped the lead to 5-1 in the fourth. Finally, in the seventh, Jurickson Profar singled, went to third on an error by Flores and scored on Tatis' sacrifice fly.
The Rockies came to San Diego on Monday as the team behind the Padres in the NL West standings. Three days later, the Giants arrived with that distinction, having won 15 of their previous 20 games.
"The Giants are playing as good of baseball as anybody in the league," Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Thursday afternoon.
Thing is, the Padres have been a bit torrid themselves. Thursday night was their 10th victory in 13 games. Their 18-5 record since Aug. 17 is best in the major leagues.
Evidently, it doesn't matter what team they play these days. Or which version of a team.
The Padres faced the Giants in the season's second series, taking two of three. The Giants would win just five of their next 17 games to fall to 8-16 on Aug. 17.
About the same time the Padres were leaving mediocrity behind, however, the Giants suddenly started hitting.
Their .299 team batting average since Aug. 18 was second in the majors behind the Padres' .301 entering Thursday's game, and San Francisco's .895 OPS in that span was third behind the Braves' .936 and the Padres' .900 mark.
The Giants actually outhit the Padres, 8-7, on Thursday. But Adrian Morejon, Craig Stammen, Matt Strahm, Pierce Johnson, Emilio Pagan and Dan Altavilla worked the final seven innings without allowing a run.
It is unclear the exact cause or effect of Paddack's injury, which was to his landing leg and not his push-off leg.
He struck out the final two batters he faced. But his fastball velocity in the second inning was noticeably diminished.
Almost three-quarters of Paddack's fastballs this season have been at least 94 mph. He generally is still at least reaching that high 80 or even 90 pitches into an outing.
It was curious, then, that after sitting around 94 and hitting 95 mph once in the first inning he did not throw a fastball above 93 mph in the second.
But he did end the inning with his fourth strikeout of the game, so it was a surprise when Morejon jogged in from the bullpen after the second inning was completed.
The Padres have reached a point in the season where they can more easily sustain an injury to one of their five starting pitchers.
While Paddack could miss his next scheduled start Tuesday against the Dodgers, the Padres do not need a fifth starter after Wednesday's game. With just eight games in the in the regular season's final 11 days, they were likely to go with four starters in that stretch anyway.
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