Padres pound Braves in home opener
In one afternoon, the San Diego Padres piled up the kind of numbers that might normally take them an entire homestand to accomplish.
Making their spacious downtown ballpark look more like a bandbox, the Padres routed the Atlanta Braves 17-2 on Monday.
San Diego’s 17 runs were its highest total ever for a home opener and the most by any team at Petco Park since it opened in 2004. The Padres also had 19 hits.
Will Venable hit a two-run homer to highlight the 10-run fourth inning. Kyle Blanks homered, doubled and drove in a career-high five runs.
Venable (triple, single, homer) and Blanks (double, homer, single) each finished a hit shy of the cycle. No Padres batter has ever hit for the cycle. Venable scored four runs and drove in two, and Blanks scored three times in San Diego’s 42nd home opener.
"It definitely shows that we were definitely on our game at the plate,” Blanks said. "I believe every starter had a hit today. It’s nice to see that from everybody, and obviously it showed on the scoreboard. If every game could be like that, it’d definitely be a perfect world.”
Previous Padres teams groused about Petco’s vast outfield, which routinely swallowed up balls that would be homers in other ballparks.
"As far as I’m concerned, it’s a very nice ballpark to play in,” said Blanks, who made his big league debut last year. "I love playing here, as well as everyone else on the team. We love being here, we love playing here. It’s always nice to be at home and play at home, and it’s definitely a comfort zone to come in here.”
Blanks said he’s come close to a cycle several times. Venable said he had one in Double-A, with the last hit being a double.
"Today was just one of those special days that we put it all together,” Venable said. "We’ve got guys in our lineup, that are going to be in there all year, top to bottom, who are going to be capable of putting up big days. It just so happened today that everyone had a big day.”
The beneficiary was Kevin Correia (1-1), a San Diego native who made the start because of Chris Young’s balky right shoulder. Correia allowed two runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings, and also had a two-run single in the fourth.
"You never turn down runs,” said Correia, who batted twice in the fourth. "It might be in the back of your head that you don’t need two at-bats in one inning, but any run you can tack on is going to be helpful.
"I think these guys were just real fired up today, it being our home opener.”
Correia and Edward Mujica and Adam Russell held the Braves to four hits.
The sellout crowd of 42,843 gave the Padres a standing ovation after the fourth, when they scored 10 runs on seven hits, three walks and a fielder’s choice. The Padres sent 14 batters to the plate, with Chase Headley and Venable each getting two hits and scoring twice.
The 17 runs were the most for the Padres in San Diego since scoring 18 against Florida on Aug. 23, 2002, at Qualcomm Stadium, and the most overall since scoring 18 at Houston on July 29, 2007.
The previous Petco Park record for runs was 15 by the Braves on July 14, 2006. The most by the Padres was 13 against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 6, 2004.
The first six Padres batters reached base in the fourth before David Eckstein flied out. The Padres scored all 10 runs before their second out.
Tony Gwynn Jr. drew a bases-loaded walk from Jair Jurrjens (0-1) to bring in the first run, Correia singled in a pair and Everth Cabrera drove in a run with a grounder. Adrian Gonzalez followed Eckstein’s fly ball with an RBI ground-rule double that chased Jurrjens and brought on Jo-Jo Reyes.
Reyes promptly allowed Blanks’ two-run double, Headley’s RBI single and Venable’s two-run homer to straightaway center to complete the scoring. Nick Hundley walked for the second time in the inning before Gwynn and Correia took called third strikes to end the surge.
Jurrjens allowed a career-high eight runs and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings. Reyes allowed a career-high nine runs and 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings.
Jurrjens "was off and didn’t have control of his changeup,” manager Bobby Cox said. "He couldn’t get ahead of the hitters. It just got worse. It was the worst I’ve seen him pitch.”
Said Chipper Jones: "It’s just one of those days. We all have them. We’re all human.”
In the fifth, Eckstein and Gonzalez walked ahead of Blanks’ homer to left-center.
The Braves finally got to Correia in the sixth, when he allowed two runs on three hits and two walks.
Young was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Wednesday, with a strained right shoulder. … The 10-run fourth inning tied the Petco Park record, set by the Padres on May 15, 2005, against Florida. They were the most runs in an inning by the Padres since they scored 11 in the first inning at Houston on July 29, 2007. … The Padres’ 19 hits were their most since getting 22 at Milwaukee on Aug. 11. … Jones wasn’t in the original starting lineup. He played for the first time since Thursday against Chicago, when he came out with a strained right oblique.