By BERNIE WILSON
AP Sports Writer
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Ryan O’Hearn homered and Gunnar Henderson hit a bases-clearing double off Yu Darvish for the AL-best Baltimore Orioles, who beat the staggering San Diego Padres 4-1 Monday night for their third straight win.
Rookie right-hander Grayson Rodriguez (3-3) held the Padres to one run on three hits while going seven innings for the first time. He struck out six and walked one to win for the first time in nine starts. His last victory came May 9 against Tampa Bay.
“That’s his best start of the year, hands down,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “The homer to (Garrett) Cooper and that was really it. Just total command from start to finish.”
Hyde said if Rodriguez hadn’t walked Xander Bogaerts with two outs in the seventh, “there’s a chance he’s going to go back out there for the eighth inning. On a night where we’re extremely short in the bullpen, he goes seven great innings for us.”
Rodriguez retired Jake Cronenworth to get out of the seventh.
“Any time you don’t get the ball taken away from you, obviously the manager and pitching coach, they have some confidence left in you, so really just being able to go back after that hitter after the walk, that was big for me,” Rodriguez said.
Félix Bautista finished the combined four-hitter by pitching the ninth for his AL-leading 32nd save in 38 chances. He walked Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto with one out and then got Manny Machado to ground into a double play to end it.
The Padres lost their third straight and for the seventh time in eight games. They have failed to play up to the expectations that come with having baseball’s third-highest payroll and an appearance in the NL Championship Series last fall.
O’Hearn sent a drive into the home run porch in the right field corner leading off the second, his 10th.
Darvish loaded the bases with one out in the fifth by allowing consecutive singles to Aaron Hicks, who came off the injured list earlier in the day, and Jordan Westburg, followed by a walk to Adley Rutschman. Henderson then cleared them with an opposite-field double into the corner in left.
Cooper homered to straightaway center off Rodriguez leading off the sixth, his first with the Padres and his 14th this season.
“I felt really good. I felt good in the bullpen before the game and me and (Rutschman) were locked in there from the get-go,” Rodriguez said. “He did a great job tonight.”
Rodriguez was sent down to Triple-A in late May and made seven starts for Norfolk.
“That was probably the best thing for me, just being able to go back down there in the minor league atmosphere just to work on some things in games that you can’t work on in the big leagues,” Rodriguez said. “Really being able to go back to my roots, kind of get it together and make the trip back up here to the big leagues.”
Darvish (8-8) allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings. He had six strikeouts to move past Hideo Nomo for the most by a Japanese-born pitcher with 1,919. Nomo, a special assistant in the Padres’ baseball operations department, watched from the front row of a luxury suite.
Orioles: Activated Hicks, who had been sidelined for three weeks with a strained left hamstring. Optioned OF Colton Cowser to Norfolk.
Padres: Placed DH/1B Ji Man Choi on the 10-day IL with a left rib cage strain, retroactive to Saturday. Selected the contract of OF Ben Gamel from Triple-A El Paso. Transferred RHP Drew Carlton to the 60-day IL.
Orioles RHP Jack Flaherty (8-7, 4.33 ERA) and Padres RHP Michael Wacha (8-2, 2.84) are scheduled to start Tuesday night. It will be Flaherty’s third start since being obtained from St. Louis at the trade deadline. Wacha is scheduled to come off the injured list. He’s been out with right shoulder inflammation since July 2.
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