Waldron's strong start helps Padres beat Phillies 5-2 to snap 5-game skid

Padres Phillies Baseball
Posted at 2:22 PM, Jun 19, 2024

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Matt Waldron used his knuckleball to strike out six over seven innings and the San Diego Padres avoided a 10th straight road loss with a late rally off Philadelphia's bullpen to beat the NL-best Phillies 5-2 on Wednesday.

A day after the Phillies used four consecutive ninth-inning hits to rally for a 4-3 win, Waldron (5-6) and two relievers helped the Padres snap a five-game skid that started against the Mets. The Padres avoided their first 0-6 trip since 2009 and had lost nine straight overall on the road. They hadn't lost 10 straight away games since 2013.

Bryce Harper homered twice for the Phillies, his 27th career multi-homer game and second of the season. His 17 homers are tied with Kyle Schwarber for the team lead.

Robert Suárez worked the ninth for his 18th save.

“We haven't been able to shake hands as much as we'd like on this road trip,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said. “They've got a good club, clearly. Maybe the best one in baseball.”

After another strong start by Ranger Suárez, the bullpen and an error by third baseman Alec Bohm contributed to the game slipping away. Orion Kerkering (2-1) hit a batter and Tyler Wade singled to put two runners on in the seventh. Luis Arráez singled to right for a 2-1 lead. Bohm's one-out fielding error in the eighth helped set up Kyle Higashioka's bases-clearing triple that put the Padres ahead 5-1.

Suárez remained stuck on 10 wins but tossed another gem in what has turned into a career season for the 28-year-old lefty. He struck out four and gave up six hits in six innings, allowing his only run on Jackson Merrill's homer in the second. Suárez started 9-1 but has picked up no-decisions in three of his last four starts.

He lowered his ERA from 1.77 to 1.75, behind only Atlanta's Reynaldo López. Suárez made a start with his wife and two young children in the stands for the first time in his career. His wife was able to obtain a visa and travel from Venezuela.

“I am very excited to go home and see them, hug them, talk with them, play with them,” Suárez said through an interpreter.

Harper knocked a slider from Waldron over the left-center fence in the third for first homer since the June 8 shot he hit in London, which he celebrated with a soccer-style knee slide. He went deep again in the eighth.

Waldron threw a season-high 48 knuckleballs — out of 104 pitches — to keep the Phillies off-balance. He's the first Padres starter this season with five straight quality starts. He has a 1.35 ERA over that span with 24 strikeouts and six walks.

“His pitches were good. They were moving all sorts of ways,” Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott said. “We just didn't do it this time around.”

Shildt laughed when he said he didn't want to think about where the Padres (38-40) would be without Waldron.

“I just feel like I've faced some of the best teams in the league so that gives me a little bit of confidence going forward,” Waldron said. “No one's really expecting it, so what's there to lose?”