SAN DIEGO – Manny Machado lofted a popup on lazy ground in the eighth inning of the Padres 9-4 win against the Cubs on Monday night and seemed to have come to terms with his fate. He took a few steps towards the first base and then turned towards the padres’ shelter. The boys’ first baseman, Anthony Rizzo, camped under baseball for what would have been first of the inning.
And then, inexplicably, Rizzo dropped the ball.
Never a good idea to give a hitter like Manny Machado a second chance.
With the next pitch from Cubs right-handed Cory Abbott, Machado started a towering home run on the opposite field in the petco veranda area of the right field. Machado’s eighth stroke of the season gave the Padres a lead of three runs.
It’s been a bit of a strain lately for Machado, who was struggling with a left shoulder infection and only hits .239 this season. But he’s been showing signs of an outbreak lately. On Friday he reached the second deck in the left field in front of former teammate Joey Lucchesi.
Machado singled out in his first at-bat on Monday night, adding a pair of line drives to left field that became victim flies in the second and sixth innings. Machado became the first padres hitter since Adam Rosales in 2016 to hit multiple sackflies in the same game.
Then came Monday’s explosion – a remarkable blow. Abbott threw a 2-2 slider that started at eye level and ended over the letter. Machado went with the playing field and sent it a projected 352 feet to the right field.
“I found his at-bats really good,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “I found his turns good. I thought its balance – it looked great on the plate. And I think it’s a really good sign to see him push the ball like this into the right field. That seems very encouraging. “
Machado almost got no chance. But his popup hit Rizzo’s glove on the side and then dashed out of Rizzo’s neck area. Immediately afterwards, Machado appeared to check on Rizzo, who was fine. Then Machado made him and the boys pay.