SAN DIEGO (AP) — Fans were back at Petco Park and so was the San Diego Padres’ never-say-die attitude.
Eric Hosmer had a homer among his three hits and drove in three runs, newcomer Victor Caratini also had three RBIs and the Padres gave up four long balls in the fifth inning while blowing a five-run lead before beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-7 on Thursday to open one of the most anticipated seasons in franchise history.
After the Padres fell behind by one, Hosmer hit a tying single in the sixth. Jake Cronenworth smacked a leadoff triple in the seventh against Alex Young (0-1) and scored the go-ahead run on Jurickson Profar’s sacrifice fly in front of an announced crowd of 8,773, about 20% of Petco Park’s capacity as allowed under state coronavirus guidelines.
Rallying to win “says a lot about our team,” Hosmer said. “We understood we had a nice little lead there and the momentum, the energy shifted quickly. So as an offense we wanted to do what we could to create the momentum back, to get the energy back on our side. That’s what good teams do, we find ways to win late in the game.”
The Padres ended a 13-year playoff drought in 2020 and Petco Park would have been a madhouse if not for the pandemic that kept fans from attending games.
Hosmer said the fans recognized little things on Thursday, such as standing to applaud Wil Myers when he ran out to right field after connecting on back-to-back homers with Hosmer in the third.
“You appreciate these moments, appreciate being able to play at this level on opening day, you appreciate being able to get back out on the field in front of fans again,” Hosmer said.
The Padres won with minimal contributions from star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who had a hit and a run but struck out three times, and slugger Manny Machado, who went hitless.
“We think we can be a great offense,” Hosmer said. “We think we can be the best offense in the league, we honestly do. Last year we made such a big stride in getting into the top 10 in most of the offensive categories and this year we’re looking to improve as well. When we stay to our approach, stay to our game plan and we execute as an offense, it’s fun to watch.”
Emilio Pagán (1-0) pitched one inning for the win and newcomer Mark Melancon breezed through a perfect ninth on seven pitches for the save.
Arizona’s Ketel Marte had four hits, including one of Arizona’s four home runs in the wild six-run fifth that got Madison Bumgarner off the hook for what would have been his third straight opening day loss to San Diego. Asdrubal Cabrera, pinch-hitter Tim Locastro and Stephen Vogt also homered for the Diamondbacks in the fifth, which cost Yu Darvish the decision in his Padres debut.
San Diego took a 6-1 lead against Bumgarner after four innings. Hosmer and Myers hit consecutive homers in the third, and Hosmer had an RBI double in the fourth. Caratini hit a two-run single in the second — his first plate appearance with the Padres — and an RBI single in the third.
Caratini is Darvish’s personal catcher. They were obtained from the Chicago Cubs on Dec. 29.
The Padres blew the five-run lead in the fifth when the Diamondbacks combined four homers with a throwing error by Tatis to rally for six runs and take a 7-6 lead. Darvish allowed a solo shot by Marte to center field with one out and a two-run shot by Cabrera to right to with two outs.
Tim Hill came on and Tatis threw away Eduardo Escobar’s grounder for an error. Locastro followed with a two-run homer to left-center to tie it, and Vogt homered to right for the lead.
The Padres came back and tied it at 7 in the sixth. Pinch-hitter Tucupita Marcano drew a leadoff walk in his big league debut and scored on Hosmer’s two-out single up the middle.
Tatis pulled another Houdini-esque move with a twisting dive back into first to avoid a tag by Christian Walker on a backpick attempt by Vogt after singling in the fourth. The Diamondbacks challenged but the call stood after replay review. Tatis reached for the bag with his left hand while landing on his shoulder. Tatis caused a scare during spring training when he walked off the field after making a backhand grab of a grounder and a throw to first. He was back in the lineup two days later.
During his rookie season of 2019, Tatis pulled a full-body contortion that many fans compared to the “Matrix” movies to avoid being tagged out at first.
Diamondbacks: Placed RHP Zac Gallen and OF Kole Calhoun on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Tuesday.
Padres: Placed LHP Matt Strahm; RHPs Austin Adams, Dan Altavilla, Javy Guerra, Pierce Johnson and Dinelson Lamet; C Austin Nola; OF Trent Grisham; and INF Jorge Ona on the 10-day IL. Placed RHP Michel Báez on the 60-day IL.
Diamondbacks: RHP Merrill Kelly (3-2, 2.59 ERA in 2020) is scheduled to start Friday night. He has won his last four starts vs. the Padres, posting a 0.34 ERA with one run allowed in 26 2/3 innings. He’ll be making his first start since Aug. 19. He had right shoulder thoracic outlet surgery on Aug. 25.
Padres: Snell (4-2, 3.24 with Tampa Bay) is scheduled to make his Padres debut. The left-hander went 1-2 in three starts at Petco Park in the AL playoff bubble in 2020, including a win in Game 1 of the ALCS against Houston.
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