— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 18, 2020
Fernando Tatis Jr. made himself at home Monday night in the new home of the Texas Rangers.
The San Diego Padres’ second-year phenomenon belted two home runs, produced seven RBI and stirred one controversy in a 14-4 victory at Globe Life Field.
In a stunning show of power, Tatis crushed a line drive to left for a three-run homer in the seventh inning. In the eighth, he followed with an opposite-field grand slam.
The grand slam left the Rangers fuming.
It came on a 3-0 count with the Padres holding a seven-run lead. After it sailed over the wall in right field, the Padres expanded the advantage to 14-3.
“There’s a lot of unwritten rules that are constantly being challenged in today’s game,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward told reporters, as noted in a Twitter post from San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Jeff Sanders. “I didn’t like it, personally. You’re up by seven in the eighth inning. It’s typically not a good time to swing 3-0.”
Added Woodward, “It’s kind of the way we were all raised in the game, but like I said, the norms are all being challenged on a daily basis. Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not right. I don’t think we liked it as a group.”
On the next play, Texas reliever Ian Gibaut threw a pitch that sailed behind San Diego slugger Manny Machado. Woodward said there was no purpose to the location of the pitch. “It slipped out of his hand and went wide,” he said, in comments relayed by Sanders.
“(Umpires) didn’t issue any warnings, so they must have come to the agreement that it wasn’t intentional. I was expecting them to warn somebody, but they didn’t.”
Jayce Tingler, a first-year Padres manager who worked with the Rangers for the past 13 years, congratulated Tatis for the slam but also told his young star that he had missed a take sign.
“He’s young, a free spirit and focused and all those things,” Tingler said in a story published by the Associated Press. “That’s the last thing that we’ll ever take away. It’s a learning opportunity and that’s it. He’ll grow from it.”
The power show boosted Tatis into the home-run lead in the major leagues.
Two years ago, he was one of the top prospects in baseball with the San Antonio Missions. Now he has 11 homers on the season, one more than Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.
Tatis is only 21 years old.
Former Missions players Franmil Reyes and Fernando Tatis, Jr., have produced multi-home run games on back-to-back days in the major leagues. Reyes hit two for the Cleveland Indians on Sunday in Detroit. Tatis followed with two on Monday at Texas.