Petco Park- San Diego, California
The long-awaited Major League debut of right-hander Chris Paddack, the 33rd-ranked prospect in all of baseball, finally arrived.
He battled back from Tommy John surgery and surged up the prospect boards last season, supplanting himself in the national prospect spotlight.
In front of 38,444 people on a Sunday afternoon, including 30 or so of Paddack’s family and friends, he finally reached the pinnacle level of professional baseball, and he didn’t disappoint.
Paddack had a perfect 1-2-3 first inning and then proceeded to earn his first three career strikeouts in the second, striking out the side in order, with Brandon Belt being his first ever victim. The game remained scoreless until the top of the fifth inning when Brandon Crawford singled with one out and then scored on a Pablo Sandoval double. That was the lone blemish on the day for the 23-year-old Texan.
Only 11 pitchers in @MLB history have gone ≥ 5 innings with ≤ 1 R, ≤ 1 BB, ≤ 2 H and ≥ 7 K in their big league debut — including #BlueJays' Trent Thornton earlier today.https://t.co/SjUDSIloUD pic.twitter.com/eUPXDOYLsb
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 31, 2019
Paddack would be pinch-hit for in the bottom of the fifth ending his day with five innings, two hits, one run, one walk, and seven strikeouts. The Padres would eventually get Paddack off of the hook for the loss when Franchy Cordero worked a walk and then advanced on a Sandoval error. Then Eric Hosmer came through in the clutch with an RBI single, scoring Cordero.
It became a bullpen game after that, with Adam Warren twirling two scoreless innings of relief with a walk and two strikeouts. The Friars took the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Austin Hedges led off with a single. After a Greg Garcia double, Eric Hosmer was intentionally walked to load the bases for Manny Machado.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) March 31, 2019
Machado hit a ground ball and hustled up the line to beat out the double play, scoring the run and giving the Padres a slim 2-1 lead and giving him his first RBI as a Padre. After a scoreless eighth inning from Craig Stammen, the Padres added on when Austin Hedges singled with runners at the corner, extending the lead to 3-1. Hedges went 2-for-3 on the day.
Kirby Yates came in to pitch the ninth inning and earned his third save in as many tries, clinching the series win for the Padres as the Padres won 3-1. It marks the first time since 2011 that the Padres have won an opening series and they won the opening home series for the first time since 2008. This Padres team truly feels different.
The Padres welcomed 158,767 to Petco Park in the Opening four games, an impressive number. This team is fun to watch, and the locals are showing up to see it.
The Padres now start a home series with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, with Matt Strahm making his 2019 debut against Merrill Kelly for Arizona, who will be making his Major League debut.