One minute, he was hitting the deck to avoid a knockdown pitch. The next minute, he was swatting a two-run home run to help the Padres cool off the San Francisco Giants 5-1 Saturday night to snap an eight-game home losing streak.
"I don't think anything fires me up more than watching a hitter getting knocked down and then staying on an offspeed pitch away on the next pitch," manager Andy Green said. "It's as good a thing as you'll see in baseball. He plays with absolutely no fear."
The Padres, who've won only four of 14 since the All-Star break, held San Francisco to five hits as they snapped a six-game losing streak to the Giants dating to June 11. That included a three-game sweep here from July 1/3 that helped launch them on their current hot streak that's put them in the NL wild-card hunt. This was just their fifth loss in 23 games.
Tatis hit the deck in the fifth inning to avoid a high, tight 94-mph fastball from rookie Shaun Anderson (3-3) and then drove a 1-2 slider an estimated 414 feet to center field, his 17th to give the Padres a 3-0 lead. Rookie right-hander Cal Quantrill was aboard on a leadoff walk.
"You play in this game, you're supposed to not have fear at all. But it happened," said Tatis, the son of the former big league infielder.
"You see everything. That pitch, you know it could take you out of the season right away," Tatis said. "But nothing you can do about it. It was not on purpose from the pitcher, so nothing I can do."
Tatis twisted out of the way of the pitch, with his batting helmet flying off and his bat flying out of his hands.
He said the key to bouncing back was, "Just take my time. I've been in that situation before. Just trying to get a good pitch again and being back in the game. ... I react to it, I saw it hanging and I took a real swing on it."
Said Quantrill, whose father also played in the big leagues: "Don't brush him back, I guess. He got angry. I mean, he's a freak. You don't want to make freaks angry. Obviously a great hitter. Never had a doubt. Fernando's obviously quite the talent."
Said teammate Wil Myers: "I'm never surprised by him anymore. I know what to expect."
Anderson said the home run pitch "Got too much plate, and he's a good hitter and he got to it."
Greg Garcia added a two-run single in the sixth while pinch-hitting for Quantrill. It brought in Wil Myers, who was aboard on his second straight double that chased Anderson, and rookie Luis Urias, who walked against Trevor Gott.
Myers hit an RBI double in the fourth.
Quantrill (4-2) allowed one run and three hits in 5 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked four. His streak of 18 scoreless innings, the longest by a Padres pitcher this year, ended when Pablo Sandoval singled in Mike Yastremski, who opened the sixth with a double.
Quantrill walked the base loaded with two outs in the fourth and got out of the jam.
"The walks are unacceptable. You can't walk that many guys and think you're going get away with it very often," Quantrill said. "But today I was able to pull a little magic there in the fourth. Obviously moving forward that's not going to be the way to succeed."
Anderson allowed four runs and seven hits in five-plus innings, struck out seven and walked two.
Manager Bruce Bochy said the Giants had "Just an off night. It's going to happen. You're not always going to get those timely hits. We've been on a pretty good roll with that. It was just missing today."
The NBA superstar, who played two seasons at San Diego State, watched from a front-row seat near the Giants' dugout. He recently signed with the Los Angeles Clippers after leading the Toronto Raptors to the NBA title and winning his second career NBA Finals MVP.
Giants minor league RHP Logan Webb was reinstated after serving an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. ... LHP Ty Blach was designated for assignment.
Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-7, 3.66) is scheduled to start the series finale Sunday. He'll be seeking his first road win since May 18 at Arizona. Since then, he's gone 0-2 with a 4.79 ERA in four road starts.
Padres: Green said the Padres anticipate starting rookie Adrian Morejon (0-0, 2.70 in two appearances, including one start).
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Tatis hits homer after inside pitch sends him to the dirt
Shaun Anderson's high inside pitch sends Fernando Tatis Jr. to the dirt, and Tatis responds by hitting a two-run home run on the next pitch.