Cards’ bullpen falters as Padres spoil St. Louis home opener
ST. LOUIS — San Diego rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. knew all about the passionate St. Louis fan base — he was given a heads-up by his father, Fernando Sr., who played three seasons for the Cardinals.
Even with that scouting report, the 20-year-old Tatis couldn’t believe his ears on Friday when he received a loud ovation from the crowd in his first at-bat, as a visitor.
“I got goosebumps and everything,” Tatis said. “It was very special.”
Tatis went on to have a special day.
Tatis and pinch-hitter Hunter Renfroe homered as the Padres overcame another home run by Paul Goldschmidt to beat St. Louis 5-3 Friday in the Cardinals’ home opener.
Tatis Jr. was born in St. Louis and watched intently as highlights of his father’s exploits were played on the scoreboard prior to the Cardinals 128th home opener. Tatis Sr. hit 60 home runs as a member of the Cardinals including two grand slams in the same inning in a 12-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 23, 1999.
“He told me that St. Louis fans are great and that they’d remember (him),” Tatis said. “He had a fun time, a great time over here.”
Tatis hit a two-run drive in the seventh off Alex Reyes (0-1). His second homer of the year helped the Padres score three times in the inning for a 5-2 lead.
“With him being a rookie and hitting a home run, I think that’s very special for him,” Renfroe said. “I think it’s very special for his dad as well.”
San Diego manager Andy Green says Tatis will never forget the moment.
“His dad knew how special this place was,” Green said. “He had a ton of respect for the fans and they’re passing that on.”
Padres starter Nick Margevicius allowed one hit over five innings, striking out one and walking one. In his major league debut, he gave up three hits and one run over five innings last weekend against San Francisco.
“I felt like I did a pretty good job executing my game plan,” Margevicius said. “I noticed pretty early getting quick outs was kind of a theme.”
Goldschmidt drew a standing ovation in his first at-bat at Busch Stadium since being traded to St. Louis. He hit his fifth home run in seven games this season, connecting in the eighth inning off Trey Wingenter.
“Any time you hit a home run, it’s nice,” Goldschmidt said. “We were trying to make a comeback there. We weren’t able to do it tonight, but hopefully tomorrow will be better.”
St. Louis starter Jack Flaherty tossed five shutout innings. He gave up six hits, but stranded eight runners. The Padres had a runner reach third base in four of the first five innings.
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Reliever Robert Stock (1-0) picked up the win despite giving up the tying run on an RBI single by Marcell Ozuna in the sixth. Kirby Yates closed for his fourth save.
Paul DeJong also homered for St. Louis. The Cardinals have lost their road opener and home opener each of the last two seasons.
“You’ve got to remember, it’s still early April,” DeJong said. “And we’re playing these games tough.”
Franchy Cordero put the Padres ahead to stay 3-2 with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Reyes started the inning by walking the first two hitters, who moved into scoring position on a wild pitch.
Renfroe hit a two-run homer off reliever Dominic Leone in the sixth to erase a 1-0 deficit. It was Renfroe’s third homer in the last three games.
San Diego began a 10-game road trip, which will be the Padres’ longest this season. After three in St. Louis, they will play three in San Francisco and four in Arizona before returning home to face Colorado on April 15.
St. Louis INF Jedd Gyorko was activated from the disabled list after missing the first six games of the season due to a right calf strain. He grounded out in the sixth inning as a pinch-hitter. INF/OF Drew Robinson was sent down to Triple-A Memphis.
Cardinals: Ozuna was in the starting lineup after missing Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh with tightness in his side. An MRI showed no structural damage. … RHP Carlos Martinez will throw a side session on April 13. He has been out with a right shoulder cuff strain.
Padres: San Diego RHP Chris Paddack (0-0, 1.80) allowed two hits and one run in five innings of his major league debut against San Francisco on Sunday.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha is 3-0 with a 2.32 ERA in five career starts against the Padres.