Padres begin 2021 with 8-7 win over Arizona
Petco Park- San Diego, California
The highly anticipated debut of Yu Darvish for the San Diego Padres did not go as planned.
The Padres were still able to fight their way back to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 8-7 on Thursday.
“I was really proud to see our guys after a pretty big momentum shift there in the fifth continue to grind and continue to keep fighting,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “We were able to push enough runs across.”
Fans were in attendance for Thursday’s game for the first time since 2019. The Padres rewarded them with an entertaining game and a win.
Darvish entered the fifth inning with a 6-1 lead, and the Padres were cruising to what looked like a third straight opening day victory over Madison Bumgarner. When Darvish left with two outs in fifth, the Padres still led 6-4. After a Fernando Tatis Jr. throwing error and two home runs, the Padres found themselves trailing, minutes after leading by five.
The ship did not sail smoothly for the ace of what is expected to be one of the best rotations in baseball.
Despite allowing six runs in an inning, the Padres still prevailed. In years past, on opening day, big innings were a common theme but typically resulted in a blowout that left the Padres below .500, where they would be for the remainder of the season.
Thursday reminded the friar faithful that these are not the same old Padres, as they scraped across two runs, one in the sixth and seventh inning.
Eric Hosmer did the majority of the heavy lifting, also against left-handed pitchers. In the third inning, Hosmer took Bumgarner deep to right-center field. In his next two at-bats, Hosmer grounded the ball through the infield for additional runs, including the tying run in the sixth.
Victor Caratini also impressed at the plate in his Padres debut. He went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI’s, all coming with two outs.
“For him to be able to get us on the board there with the first hit and then come up with the pitcher behind him and reach out and drive that ball to left and get the other run, I thought he was very competitive in the box today, and an overall great day,” Tingler said.
Tucupita Marcano and Ha-Seong Kim both made their MLB debuts as pinch-hitters late in the game. Marcano walked and eventually scored the tying run while Kim struck out.
All in all, the Padres scored eight runs in their 2021 opener. If that wasn’t already a great sign, the lineup did that with only one hit combined from Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado. Once the two stars get going, the potential is through the roof for San Diego.
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Although Tatis Jr. did not significantly impact the game, he expanded his already impressive highlight reel with a matrix-like dive to avoid a tag at first base.
The Matrix Reloaded@tatis_jr pic.twitter.com/xiwUvS1LS5
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) April 1, 2021
The bullpen for the San Diego Padres did not allow an earned run in 4 ⅓ innings. Tim Hill, however, did allow three unearned runs with two outs after the error by Tatis Jr.
Keone Kela, Emilio Pagan, Drew Pomeranz, and Mark Melancon all threw a scoreless inning, combining for five strikeouts.
Tingler made it official postgame that Joe Musgrove will make his Padres debut on Saturday. Chris Paddack will start on Sunday, and Adrian Morejon will follow on Monday against the San Francisco Giants.
San Diego will host Arizona again on Friday for the second game of the four-game series. Blake Snell will make his Padres debut against RHP Merril Kelly.
The first pitch will be at 7:10 PT.
Dominic is currently a Senior at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, studying Sports Journalism. He also hosts the “Devils Talking Padres” podcast and is the producer and co-host of the “Padres EVT Podcast.
There’s been some trepidation among fans that the first game was, as the Duke of Wellington put it after Waterloo, “a close-run thing.” Fans should be aware that, after the first month, or week, it’ll just be a “W” in the standings.
If there are lessons that some already knew and others need to learn, it’s that the offense is so potent, it can score 8 runs with just the bottom of the order clicking; that even the best of starters can have an occasional shaky game at any time, even Opening Day; and most important for this team, the bullpen is rock dsolid, Hill’s travails notwithstanding.
Everything’s going to be fine.