As Fernando Tatis Jr.’s long anticipated return to Petco Park finally arrived on Monday, Padres fans certainly had reason to smile. Coming down from their Mexico City-high of sweeping the division rival Giants, the Friars (16-15) got right back to it against the visiting Cincinnati Reds (13-18).
In the bottom of the opening frame, Tatis Jr. stepped up to lead things off for San Diego–the Friar Faithful on hand were sure to deliver a raucous applause for his first appearance back home since September of 2021. His leadoff at bat on Monday resulted in an infield single, and from there, Manny Machado followed by drawing a walk. Tatis Jr. and Machado then scored the first runs of the game after a double to center field from Juan Soto: 2-0 Padres.
Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell pitched efficiently against the Reds on Monday to earn his first win of 2023, going six full innings with three earned runs, seven strikeouts and no walks. He gave up two runs in the third inning and one run in the fourth (via home run from Nick Senzel), but managed to cruise from there.
With the game tied at three in the bottom of the fifth inning, Ha-Seong Kim crushed a home run to left field (off Alex Young) with Xander Bogaerts and Matt Carpenter on base–Kim’s third big fly of the season. That gave the lead back to San Diego, 6-3.
Fortunately for Friars, Cincinnati would not score again for the remainder of the game. In the eighth inning, the Padres added insurance runs when Machado slashed a bases loaded single into left field, plating two more. That score would hold on to go final: 8-3 San Diego.
Game 1 line (Mon. May 1) – Padres 8 (16 hits, no errors), Reds 3 (eight hits, no errors). W: Blake Snell (1-4). L: Luke Weaver (0-2). S: Domingo Tapia (1).
The second game of Reds-Padres saw an offensive depletion in comparison to San Diego’s previous three outings. A contest that required extra innings, the Friars only managed to score just one run on Tuesday night–that came early in the third frame when Juan Soto doubled in Manny Machado (Soto doing so for the second consecutive night).
Despite scoring first and holding a 1-0 lead for majority of the game, San Diego could not hold on. Starting pitcher Michael Wacha threw very well for the Padres, going six shutout innings while allowing only five baserunners (one of which came from a second inning fielding error on Machado). Still, Cincinnati rallied in the eighth inning (two-out RBI single from Jake Fraley off Nick Martinez) to tie the game at 1-1; We would complete the nine regulation frames with the score as such.
In extras, the Reds did not wait around. With the natural runner aboard second base to start the 10th frame, 2021 NL Rookie of the Year Jonathan India led off and smashed an RBI single into left field on the first pitch from reliever Luis Garcia. That gave the Reds their first and only lead of the day. When San Diego came up in the bottom of the 10th, pinch hitter Trent Grisham did well to draw a walk (to put runners on first and second base). However, the plug was pulled on the Friars from there. With the top of the lineup now showing against Reds closer Alexis Diaz, Tatis Jr. went down swinging, Machado lined out to left field, and Soto struck out looking. That would be all she wrote on Tuesday night: 2-1 Reds (F/10).
Game 2 line (Tue. May 2) – Reds 2 (six hits, one error), Padres 1 (six hits, one error). W: Derek Law (1-4). L: Luis Garcia (1-3). S: Alexis Diaz (5).
The rubber match (Game 3) for Reds-Padres was an early afternoon special. Hurlers Seth Lugo and Luis Cessa toed the rubber, respectively, but the day ended up belonging to Padres first year catcher Brett Sullivan: The rookie went 2-4 with a home run, a double and four RBI on Wednesday.
Lugo (six innings pitched with one earned run and five punchouts) and the San Diego staff pitched well all afternoon, as Cincinnati was only able score a lone run in the sixth inning. Still, in the bottom half of that same frame, Juan Soto smashed a bases loaded double to collect three more runs for the Friars. With the score at 7-1 San Diego, that mark would eventually hold to go final. Also, those last runs gave Soto an RBI double in all three games against the Reds.
Game 3 line (Wed. May 3) – Padres 7 (10 hits, no errors), Reds 1 (eight hits, no errors). W: Seth Lugo (3-2). L: Luis Cessa (1-4).
The Padres will have an off night on Thursday (May 4) before welcoming the rival-Los Angeles Dodgers to Petco Park this weekend, in what should be one of the most explosive series of the early 2023 MLB season.
Padres’ record against Cincinnati