Manny Machado hits walk-off homerun against D-backs

SAN DIEGO — The best ending is the one you don’t see coming.

For eight innings on Friday night, the largest crowd in Petco Park history celebrated. The Padres were cruising against the division rival Diamondbacks, and the 47,171 fans in attendance enjoyed what looked like an easy victory.

At the end of the night, they celebrated that victory, after all. Only there was nothing easy about it — and that made it all the sweeter.

The Padres have staged their share of dramatic walk-offs this season, but none were wilder than the 10-8 roller coaster of a win over Arizona on Friday. San Diego entered the ninth inning with a five-run lead, surrendered six, then won the game with a tying homer by Jurickson Profar and a walk-off drive by Manny Machado in the bottom of the inning.

“We’re going to fight until that 27th out,” Machado said. “Whether we make it in that last inning or win in that last inning, we’re going to keep fighting.”

Over the course of one wild ninth inning, the game featured a grand slam and a go-ahead home run by the D-backs, followed by Profar’s game-tying blast and Machado’s walk-off. According to STATS, it was the first time in AL/NL history that four different players had accomplished those four feats in the same inning of a game.

The Padres had been dealt an unprecedented blow to the gut in the top of the inning. With a five-run lead, right-hander Enyel De Los Santos loaded the bases, prompting manager Mike Shildt to call up closer Robert Suarez.

It was Suarez’s third appearance in as many days, including 1 1/3 innings at Texas on Wednesday. From his first pitch, it was clear he wasn’t his usual dominant self. Alek Thomas hit a grand slam to cut Arizona’s deficit to a single run. After Corbin Carroll’s two-out double, Randal Grichuk gave the D-backs an 8-7 lead with a two-run homer inside the Western Metal Supply Co. building.

Petco Park was stunned into silence. Well, most of it. In the home dugout, the Padres were not resigned to their fate.

“Guys came back, good energy,” manager Mike Shildt said. “It’s, ‘Let’s go, let’s find a way.’ The rest, as we say, is history. In front of the biggest crowd in Petco Park history. That’s a pretty memorable one.”

Profar started in the bottom of the ninth inning — and for a team in need of a jolt of resilience, there was no better man for the job. A bargain-bin acquisition in Spring Training, Profar has been perhaps the best outfielder in the National League this season. He’s been the heart and soul of the Padres, and on Wednesday he was named an All-Star for the first time, at age 31.

Facing D-backs closer Paul Sewald, Profar fell behind 2-0. But he finished the count before Sewald threw a fastball over the heart of the plate. Profar tossed it to the right-field seats for his 100th career home run and was greeted with MVP chants. The party was on.

“We are showing who we are as a team,” Profar said. “We are not giving up.”

Jake Cronenworth followed with a walk, setting the stage for Machado. Sewald threw an 0-2 slider and Machado made no error. He released and then sat back in the batter’s box, holding his one-handed follow-through. The Padres dugout walked onto the field and gave Machado an impromptu high-five on the way to first base.

It was Machado’s eighth walk-off home run — all since the start of the 2014 season. That’s the most in the majors during that span.

“This is one of the best I’ve ever had,” Machado said. “When you walk it off, it’s always an incredible moment that you always dream about as a kid.”

The Padres have been on a roll lately, with six walk-off wins this season, including four by home run, the best in MLB.

“I expect we do,” Profar said. “…We make it normal, right?”

Normal? No, “normal” probably isn’t the right word. Nothing in that ninth inning was normal. But these Padres have made a habit of winning games like this. They’re now six games above .500 for the first time this season — and for the first time since 2022.

“Whether the game is tied or we’re behind, it’s, ‘Let’s find a way to win this game,'” Cronenworth said. “Whatever it takes.”

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