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Pham homers and triples to lead Arizona to a 6-4 win over Padres in the opener of a doubleheader

Arizona Diamondbacks' Tommy Pham hits a triple during the third inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the San Diego Padres, Saturday, Aug 19, 2023, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Brandon Sloter)

Arizona Diamondbacks’ Tommy Pham hits a triple during the third inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the San Diego Padres, Saturday, Aug 19, 2023, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Brandon Sloter)

BY RICHARD J. MARCUS contributing

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Tommy Pham hit a two-run homer and tripled to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 6-4 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

The teams are playing two games Saturday with Hurricane Hilary expected to hit the Southern California region on Sunday.

“We were all in on the decision-making to get this first game.” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “We didn’t talk about game two at all.”

The Diamondbacks (63-61) have won five of their last seven games and pulled four games ahead of the Padres in the NL wild-card standings.

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San Diego dropped to 3-3 on a crucial 10-game homestand. The Padres (59-65) need a strong finish and some help to rally to a playoff berth.

Pham — who has a 10-game hitting streak — drove a two-run shot in the fifth to left field to give the Diamondbacks a 5-3 lead. Ketel Marte walked prior to Pham’s 13th homer of the season.

“Two good hits, anybody would take those,” said Pham, who acknowledged beng a perfectionist. “But I would like to try to stop unnecessarily wasting so many at-bats.”

San Diego’s Manny Machado hit two solo homers in a losing cause. He connected in the first to left field and in the eighth to right. He has 23 homers for the season.

Arizona took a 3-2 lead in the third after Pham tripled to center and scored on Christian Walker’s grounder to second.

Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly (10-5) gave up three runs and five hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings for the win.

“Not getting ahead of people. Fastball command was off,” Kelly said of his day. “Cutters were kind of just running off the edge of the plate. They were doing a pretty good job of taking some borderline cutters.”

Paul Sewald earned his 26th save by blanking the Padres in the ninth despite giving up two walks and hitting a batter. With the bases loaded and two outs, Juan Soto hit a towering drive to the left field warning track to end the game.

“I thought it was a homer. Some of them travel, some of them don’t. I don’t know what the exit velocity was on that one, but from our vantage point we thought it was a home run,” San Diego manager Bob Melvin said. “That’s kind of the story of our year at this point. We finally get to where we’re doing some damage late in games and getting great at-bats, putting pressure, whether it’s the closer or not. And it just comes up a little bit short.”

The Padres recalled knuckleballer Matt Waldron (0-2) from Triple-A El Paso to make a spot start. It was Waldron’s second career big league appearance. He lasted five innings, giving up five runs, five hits and striking out five.

The Diamondbacks jumped on Waldron with two runs in the first. Corbin Carroll doubled on the first pitch of the game and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Alek Thomas, who went 3 for 4, later hit consecutive RBI singles for a 2-0 lead.

“This was a total team effort,” Lovullo said. “There was some very key moments. I think the Pham home run was obviously a big blow….Merrill gutted it out as well.”

Kelly gave up a homer to his first batter, Kim. It was Kim’s 16th home run of the season and fifth leadoff homer of his career. Later in the first, Machado homered for a 2-all tie.

“Obviously, the second pitch of the game goes over the fence is not ideal,” Kelly said. “I just keep going, just trying to keep executing pitches.”

PLAYING TWO

Hurricane Hilary, which is currently south of San Diego, is projected to spawn a tropical storm that’s likely to make field conditions on Sunday unplayable. Both Los Angeles teams are also hosting doubleheaders Saturday instead of playing Sunday.

PHAM ALTERCATION WITH FAN

Pham got into an altercation with a spectator in the first inning while on the on-deck circle before his first at-bat. “I’m all about good banter. He stepped out of line,” Pham said, adding that the fan referred to him with an expletive.

“I don’t think that is acceptable, especially when you are so close to the on-deck circle,” Pham said.

A Padres spokesperson said no fans were ejected as a result of the verbal confrontation. Lovullo said of the altercation: “These fans are awful to Tommy. I hear some terrible things coming from the stands….It’s ugly and I have been uncomfortable with it from my vantage point.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: Machado served as the designated hitter because of a minor right elbow issue. He went 2 for 4 with two home runs. Melvin said after Friday night’s game that Machado will probably play his regular 3B in the second game on Saturday.