Surging Padres look to continue pounding Red Sox

The visiting San Diego Padres will attempt to extend their winning streak to six games Sunday afternoon when they wrap up a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox.

San Diego outscored Boston 20-3 in the first two games of the series. The Padres won 9-2 Friday night and 11-1 Saturday.

The Padres hit six home runs in their two victories against the Red Sox. Jackson Merrill has homered in each game, and Manny Machado homered twice in Saturday’s win. San Diego is 9-1 in its last 10 games, with 20 home runs.

The 16 hits the Padres collected in Saturday’s win were the most the Red Sox have given up in a game this season. The victory pushed the Padres five games over the .500 mark (46-41) for the first time this season.

“We’re just looking for continual improvement,” San Diego manager Mike Shildt said. “You get continual improvement, then you get all areas firing together and you get guys working together, communicating together and clearly playing together. A lot of quality at-bats. Manny and some other guys put some big swings on the baseball.

“When you have confidence in your whole roster and guys in the lineup, you don’t feel like you have to carry the proverbial mantle. It’s just a matter of taking your good at-bat, knowing the guy behind you is going to take a good at-bat, and you’re going to do it over and over again.”

The Padres scored nine runs in the fifth inning Friday night, and struck for six runs in the fifth inning Saturday.

Right-hander Matt Waldron (5-6, 3.43 ERA) is San Diego’s scheduled starting pitcher Sunday. Waldron, a knuckleballer, has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last nine starts. He has a 1.95 ERA during that stretch.

Sunday will be Waldron’s first career appearance against the Red Sox. Kyle Higashioka typically catches when Waldron is on the mound.

“The knuckleball is definitely an outlier pitch, because even if you know it’s coming, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to get one that’s good to hit,” Higashioka told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It’s dancing out there like crazy. So regardless of whether you’re looking for it or not, if he throws the good one, it’s very unlikely that somebody’s going to really square it up.”

The Red Sox will go with right-hander Josh Winckowski (1-1, 3.26 ERA) on Sunday. Winckowski has a 1.69 ERA in three starts this season and a 4.12 ERA in 10 relief appearances. He pitched the final three innings to earn the save in a 6-1 victory over San Diego last season. That is his only appearance against the Padres.

The Red Sox have lost their last three games.

“It’s a good lineup, and they’re swinging the bats really, really well — putting up big numbers,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “Hitting the ball out of the ballpark. That’s something they’ve been doing the last 10, 15 days. Hopefully tomorrow with (Winckowski), we can hold them down and we can get going offensively.”

Red Sox catcher Connor Wong carries a 15-game hitting streak into Sunday’s matchup.

–Field Level Media