After helping his team snap its losing streak with his first multihomer game in nearly eight years, Tatis looks to continue his hot hitting as the Mets continue a three-game series against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night at Shea Stadium.
While not ideal, the injuries have opened the door for the 33-year-old Tatis, who broke into the majors in 1997, was out of baseball from 2004-2005 and spent the entire 2007 season in the minors.
Tatis is batting .316 with nine home runs and 33 RBIs in 61 games since his contract was purchased from the minors May 13. He homered twice and drove in New York’s first four runs as the team snapped a four-game skid with a 6-5 win over San Diego on Tuesday night.
Tatis’ first multihomer game since Sept. 16, 2000 earned him a curtain call at Shea, where he’s batting .371 with six homers and 23 RBIs in 30 games.
“All of Shea Stadium cheering for my name - it’s unbelievable,” he said after helping New York pull within two games of division-leading Philadelphia. “It’s amazing for me.”
Tatis is batting .395 (17-for-43) with four homers and 11 RBIs during his 11-game hitting streak - his first 11-game run since June 23-July 4, 2002. He hasn’t had a longer streak since he recorded at least one hit in 13 consecutive games from April 12-28, 2000.
On the mound Wednesday, the Mets will turn to Pedro Martinez (3-2, 6.16 ERA), who over the past month has dealt with shoulder and groin injuries as well as the death of his father. Martinez returned from the bereavement list Friday and allowed three runs in five innings of New York’s 7-3 loss to Houston - his first game action since July 12.
“It was just nice to get back on the rubber and actually get back to pitching with all these distractions,” he said. “I was rusty a little bit, the rust of not pitching in 20 days.”
Martinez, who entered the game on a pitch count, went deeper than expected and threw 87 pitches.
“I don’t regret it,” he said. “I hope the next time out, I’m able to do that and do even better.”
Martinez is 10-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 24 career games - 17 starts - against the Padres (43-70). He has won six of his last seven decisions against them dating to 1997, posting a 2.31 ERA in that eight-start stretch.
That doesn’t bode well for a San Diego club that became the second team in the majors to reach 70 losses Tuesday. The Padres, who are four losses shy of their total from each of the last two seasons, have averaged 2.3 runs and batted .187 while dropping five of their last six.
San Diego sends Cha Seung Baek (3-6, 5.22) to the mound, looking to bounce back after giving up five runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-3 loss to Arizona last Wednesday.
The right-hander made his first career start against the Mets on June 7, limiting them to one run in six innings of the Padres’ 2-1, 10-inning victory.