Machado hitless, Tatis 2 hits in debut as Padres beat Giants
The $300 million slugger got a standing ovation as he walked to the plate for the first time with his new team at sold-out Petco Park. The crowd booed when he took a called strike from Madison Bumgarner, and then cheered again even after he struck out on three pitches.
The Padres went on to a 2-0 opening win against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday, ushering in a new era in a city desperate for a winner. Fernando Tatis Jr. singled twice in his big league debut and Wil Myers homered for the Padres, who popped above .500 for the first time since June 8, 2015.
“Awesome. Can’t be any better,” said Machado, who contributed two nice defensive plays at third base. “Coming out with the W, beating a good pitcher, couldn’t start off the season any better.”
The Padres signaled their intentions to move beyond the rebuilding stage when they signed Machado to a 10-year contract early in spring training. They then promoted the 20-year-old Tatis, baseball’s top shortstop prospect whose father played in the big leagues for parts of 11 seasons, giving fans some hope after years of futility.
The two moves have energized a fan base that hasn’t seen the Padres finish with a winning season since 2010 or make the postseason since 2006.
Fans chanted “Let’s Go Padres!” before the first pitch and again as Kirby Yates was retiring the side in the ninth for the save.
“The crowd was phenomenal today for everybody,” Machado said. “They gave us support since day one and hopefully they can keep bringing that energy. It gives us energy going into games.”
Myers, who’s been with the Padres since 2015, noticed the big change in atmosphere.
“It’s different. It’s a real team. It’s a real lineup. We’ve got six guys who can do what I did today,” Myers said. “That’s what’s cool about this lineup. It’s going to be an exciting year.”
Tatis singled to left in his first big league at-bat, bouncing a ball over the glove of diving third baseman Evan Longoria in the second inning. He bunted for a hit his next time up, but was thrown out trying to steal second. Tatis’s parents and siblings traveled from San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic — known as “The Cradle of Shortstops” — for the opener.
Tatis became the youngest player with a multihit game on opening day since Milwaukee’s Robin Yount in 1975.
“I love it that way,” he said about going 2 for 3. “People push me and I push myself, and that tells you to bring your ‘A’ game every time.”
Said Machado: “I know how hard he’s worked, to finally be here in the big stage and all of his dreams came true. He got it over with the first at-bat. He doesn’t have to press on it going forward. He’s going to do a lot of special things. He’s a great and talented player.”
Tatis’ father couldn’t have been happier.
“It was great for our family,” he said. “The support the fans gave for him, it was amazing. I got chills. It makes me very happy.”
Myers, batting in the No. 2 spot, just ahead of Machado, hit a 456-foot drive to right-center off Bumgarner (0-1) with two outs in the third. Myers added an RBI single in the sixth.
Left-hander Eric Lauer (1-0), a 23-year-old who was on an opening-day roster for the first time, threw six innings of four-hit ball. Bumgarner struck out nine while allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings.
It was the beginning of the end for Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who announced in spring training that he will retire at the end of this season, his 25th as a big league manager. He managed the Padres from 1995 until being pushed out after a playoffs loss to St. Louis in 2006. While San Diego hasn’t been back to the postseason since, Bochy was snapped up by the Giants and managed them to three World Series titles in five seasons starting in 2010.
Bumgarner “threw well, didn’t he?” Bochy said. “He did a nice job. He gave us what we were hoping for, a chance to win the game. We just couldn’t get it going offensively. We just couldn’t get an inning going. They pitched well, too. We got shut down. They did a nice job.”
Bumgarner said his approach against Machado was simple. “Just don’t fall into that trap and just make good pitches.”
Machado has already contributed in the community. While shopping at a Target on Wednesday, he found a woman’s wallet and tracked her down via Instagram.
CHANGE OF PLANS
Petco Park organist Bobby Cressey had to bail on the opening day gig because his wife, Debbie, was in labor. Two hours after the game ended, they were still awaiting the arrival of their first child.
At 20 years, 85 days, Tatis is the youngest Padres player to play on opening day and the youngest to play in a game since Roberto Alomar in 1988. He is the fifth-youngest Padres player ever.
Giants: LHP Derek Holland, who was 7-9 with a 3.57 ERA last year, gets the start Friday night.
Padres: LHP Joey Lucchesi, 8-9 with a 4.08 ERA as a rookie last year, is scheduled to start the second game of the four-game series.