Jackson Merrill Takes Mason Miller Deep As Padres Walk Off A's

Merrill launched a game-winning home run off Oakland's electric closer.

Two impressive rookies faced off with the game on the line Wednesday afternoon at Petco Park. Jackson Merrill won the battle against flamethrower Mason Miller.

The game between the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics was tied 4–4 entering the bottom of the ninth inning. The A's turned things over to Miller, their elite closer. He retired Ha-Seong Kim to get the first out, then Merrill stepped to the plate.

Miller opted to go with a breaking pitch to open the at bat, unleashing an 87 mph slider down and in. Merrill didn't miss. He golfed it out down the line in right field for a walk-off home run, earning the Padres their first sweep of the season and handing Miller his first loss.

Here's the video, when the fantastic call from Padres broadcaster Don Orsillo:

That was Merrill's second home run of the day, and only the third Miller has allowed all season.

Merrill opened the season as the Padres' starting center fielder at 20 years old. He's since turned 21 and has risen to the challenge of playing every day. He's now hitting .279 with five home runs, 26 RBIs and an OPS of .703. He's only going to get better.

The win improved the Padres to 37-35 and, as stated, gave them their first sweep of the season. They currently sit in the second wild card position in the National League.

Miller is one of the American League favorites for Rookie of the Year and has been dominant this season. Today's game saw his ERA jump to 2.40, but he has 55 strikeouts against 11 walks in 30.1 innings this season. That said, Wednesday marked the third time in five appearances he has allowed a home run, so it's possible the rest of MLB is catching up to his stuff.

Merrill won the battle on Wednesday. We're likely to see those two around for a long time.

Ryan Phillips


Ryan Phillips is a senior writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He has worked in digital media since 2009, spending eight years at The Big Lead before joining SI in 2024. Phillips also co-hosts The Assembly Call Podcast about Indiana Hoosiers basketball and previously worked at Bleacher Report. He is a proud San Diego native and a graduate of Indiana University’s journalism program.