Padres’ four-run 7th inning power them to victory over Giants, 6-4

The Sporting Tribune's Fernando Ramirez on the 2024 San Diego Padres erasing some critical errors that cost them games in 2023.

SAN DIEGO — There was no Juan Soto in the lineup. Bob Melvin stood on the opposite side of the field during the National Anthem as he now manages the Giants.

This was a different-looking San Diego Padres (2-1) team. One of their weaknesses last season was leaving players in scoring positions and not being able to rally back.

That wasn’t the case on Thursday afternoon on Opening Day in a 6-4 win over San Francisco (0-1). They went 4-12 in RISP situations and came back from being down 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.

“That’s a good sign that this year is different,” Padres second baseman Xander Bogaerts said. “We should forget about last year and continue to build on what we have going on now because that’s a really good sign, that’s a great indicator.”

The Padres had a slow offensive day until the fifth inning when Jurickson Profar brought in Manny Machado to tie the game at one run a piece. Profar returned to the team late last season and is now their starter at left field.

Tyler Wade would add another run after grounding out, but bringing Luis Campusano home gave them the upper hand at 2-1.

“That was so fun to be a part of, and it’s good to be on this side,” Wade said.

Still down at the bottom of the sixth, outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr. gave the fans something to cheer about when he decided to make off from first base and made it to third on a Jake Cronenworth grounded out to first. He slid in head first and was a little shaken up, but the Friar faithful roared when he assured Shildt he was fine.

“It was sexy,” laughed Shildt. “It was fun baseball.”

That was Shildt’s first glimpse of what he has in Tatis Jr. and his ability to make miraculous plays.

“Just doing what the game gives you,” Tatis said on the play. “Always be one step ahead.”

Giants infielder Nick Ahmed tied things up in the 7th inning when he singled to left field, which brought in Thairo Estrada. San Francisco’s big-time free agent signing Jung Hoo Lee had his first career MLB RBI during a sacrifice fly to put his team ahead 3-2.

When it was the Padres’ turn, catcher Luis Campusano took advantage of a terrible exchange between catcher Patrick Bailey and Estrada. 

Bogaerts followed up by bringing Wade home after he singled on the next at-bat. Then first baseman Jake Cronenworth put the game away with a two-run RBI double that put them up 6-3.

“We always talk about better as the game goes, better as the series goes, better season goes,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said after the victory. “Clearly, we got better as the game went.”

Their victory on Thursday wasn’t achieved with home runs or grand slams; it was achieved by grinding it out. They had nine hits, eight of them singles.

The defense also contributed to this victory, as starting pitcher Yu Darvish struck out four of the first six batters and allowed only one run in 5.0 innings of work. The rest of the pitchers, Cosgrove, Brito, Matsui, and Suarez, allowed only four hits and two runs the rest of the way.

“We have a complete ballclub,” Profar said. “We can do a lot of things and that’s what makes it fun. We have everything, we have a little power, we have speed, we have really good pitching, we have really good defense. It’s a fun ballclub.”

Padres honor Peter Seidler

The Padres honored their late owner, Peter Seidler, on Opening Day by putting his initials in centerfield, giving him a permanent spot near the media box, putting a heart with his initials, and the players wearing a patch with the same symbol.

His wife, Sheel, threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and the ball also had her late husband’s initials on it.

They also held a moment of silence before the game to honor him. 

Tatis Jr. took it a step further as he had special cleats made up to honor the late honor.

“He’s part of my story,” Tatis said of the late owner. “The guy was there holding my bad during my darkest moment and cheering for me the most when I was at my highest. Everything we are doing this season is for Peter.”