The San Diego Padres lead the NL wild-card standings but with their recent stretch of good play, are focused on something bigger. Thanks to some dramatics from Josh Barfield, they still have their sights set on a second straight division title.
The Padres look to move closer in the NL West when they continue their three-game series with the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park on Tuesday.
Barfield hit a three-run walk-off homer to help San Diego win 7-5 in Monday’s series opener. The Padres, who have won three straight, maintained their 1 1/2 -game lead over Philadelphia in the wild-card standings, but also closed within two games of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
San Diego (71-66) won the division last season with an 82-80 record. After winning 10 of their last 14, the Padres are five games over .500 for the first time since Aug. 6.
They haven’t been in first place since Aug. 9, after which the Dodgers overtook them. But Los Angeles has lost two in a row following a seven-game win streak, opening the door for San Diego, which has two more games at home against the Rockies before beginning a 10-game road trip.
“It’s frustrating that I didn’t get the job done,” said Fuentes, who allowed a run for only the second time in 18 games.
“I just couldn’t find it,” he said of the walks. “I just didn’t make quality pitches.”
Tulowitzki’s shot was his first career homer. He has six hits in his last eight at-bats.
Jeff Francis (11-10, 3.64 ERA) looks for his third straight victory when he starts for Colorado on Tuesday. Francis beat San Diego 13-5 on Aug. 25, allowing five runs and eight hits in six innings, then beat the New York Mets 8-4 on Thursday, allowing four runs and 10 hits in five innings.
He also had his first career two-hit, two-RBI game in the win over the Mets.
Colorado has won five of the last six times Francis has started.
The left-hander is 1-3 with a 4.74 ERA in four games against the Padres this season and 4-6 with a 5.11 ERA in 10 career starts versus San Diego.
Chris Young (10-5, 3.66) also looks for consecutive victories when he takes the mound for San Diego on Tuesday.
Young allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings of an 8-3 win over Arizona last Tuesday, his first start since Aug. 20 when he left a start against the Diamondbacks after one inning because of a strained right shoulder.
“We were looking for him to be a little rusty but clearly he wasn’t,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “He was as sharp as he’s been all year. He had good stuff, good location and had all of his pitches working. It was something we needed and he came through for us.”
Young is 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA in four starts versus Colorado this season.