Lugo dazzles in debut, Grisham and Bogaerts homer in Padres 3-1 win

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Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Seth Lugo starred in his fantastic San Diego Padres debut, helping the Padres to secure a series split with the feisty Colorado Rockies.

Lugo, who had spent the last two seasons working as a relief pitcher, was ready for the adjustment. Trent Grisham and Xander Bogaerts each homered in the third inning, which proved to be all of the offense the Padres needed.

Lugo’s afternoon started off with some struggles, as two of the first three Rockies found their way on base. With the Rockies’ best hitter C.J. Cron at the plate, he could have been in big trouble. He got a groundout from Cron before he got a big break against Ryan McMahon. McMahon lined up a curveball, sending it back at 110.7 miles per hour, but Grisham made the catch to get him out of trouble.

After escaping from the jam, Lugo went on a great run, setting down the next 14 Rockies. He used all five of his pitches to great effect, with his fastball pairing especially well with his deadly curveball. 

San Diego’s bats struggled early, as the first seven Padres were all retired. However, Grisham jump-started the offense by walloping a homer into center field. He took a fastball that came down and away deep over the wall for his first home run of the new campaign. “Definitely, when you handle those tough pitches, it means more when you hit them.”, said Grisham after the game. Jose Azocar kept the offense going as he hustled down the line for an infield single. He used some great baserunning to move his way to third base, but that proved to be unnecessary. Bogaerts mashed his second home run in as many days, sending a shot to the second deck of the Western Metal building. 

That three-batter spurt proved to be all of the offense that San Diego was able to produce, as they only had one other “hit” in the rest of the game. That hit was dubious at best, as Austin Nola’s pop fly glanced off Cron’s glove. Rockies starter Austin Gomber had a lot of success against the Padres hitters, but a rough three-batter stretch doomed the left-hander.

Lugo’s only blemish came in the seventh inning when McMahon took him out of the yard. While it ruined the shutout bid, Lugo recovered to end his afternoon on a high note, striking out Yonathan Daza. He finished with seven strikeouts, one short of a career-high. The Rockies managed just four hits against him, and he didn’t walk anyone. The seven innings of work tied a career-high, something he’d done four times but not since 2017. “To be able to go seven innings in his first time as a starter after being a reliever, I did not expect that.”, said Bob Melvin after the game

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The lack of offense for the Padres meant that they couldn’t produce any insurance runs, but that proved not to be an issue. In the eighth, Luis Garcia didn’t allow a hit in his first inning of the season before Josh Hader came in to close the game. He did just that, setting down all three Rockies he faced before striking out McMahon to end the game.

The Padres’ struggles on offense continued, but they did enough to secure the win and the series split. “Hopefully, this sparks something, and we go on a roll.”, said Grisham after the game. They’ll host the Arizona Diamondbacks for a quick two-game series starting on Monday, before heading to Atlanta and on their first road trip of the year. 

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