SAN DIEGO (AP) — Chris Paddack walked into the San Diego Padres’ clubhouse Sunday “suited and booted” and wearing a cowboy hat, as the Texan does for all of his starts.
This one was different, and boy was it special for the 23-year-old who missed all of 2017 after having Tommy John surgery.
Paddack was impressive in his major league debut, retiring his first 10 batters and striking out seven in five innings in the Padres’ 3-1 victory against the San Francisco Giants. Manny Machado brought in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded grounder, and the Padres won three of four against the Giants.
Paddack didn’t get the win and he was kicking himself after getting thrown out at first after hitting a line drive to right in his first at-bat. Everything else was memorable in making the jump from Double-A to the majors in front of about 40 family members in the crowd of nearly 40,000 at Petco Park.
“I don’t know if you all saw them, but they were the ones in the cowboy hats and boots and all that,” said Paddack, who’s from Austin. “It was a special moment. I worked my whole life for this moment. I’ve had some setbacks with Tommy John, I’ve been through a lot and I’m very blessed to be in this moment.”
Relying on a fastball and changeup, Paddack retired his first 10 batters, six by strikeout, including the fanning the side in the second. He walked Joe Panik with one out in the fourth and got out of the inning when he struck out Yangervis Solarte and Panik was thrown out trying to steal second.
“I envisioned retiring the first 27. That’s just our mindset as starting pitchers,” said Paddack, who pitched his way into the rotation with a stellar spring and is the Padres’ only right-handed starter. “I’m very blessed to be a part of this organization, very thankful that the Padres gave me an opportunity to show them that I belong and it’s going to be a fun year.”
The Giants broke through against the tall Texan in the fifth when Crawford singled to right with one out and scored on Pablo Sandoval’s double to center.
The Padres got that run back in the bottom of the inning. Franchy Cordero walked while pinch-hitting for Paddack, advanced on Sandoval’s throwing error and scored on Eric Hosmer’s single to right.
Paddack poked a line drive into right with the bases loaded in his first career plate appearance in the second, but outfielder Gerardo Parra threw him out at first base.
“All the guys are going to give me a hard time about that tomorrow,” he said.
Paddack “threw well,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It took us a while to get a hit. That’s a nice debut for that kid.
“We just didn’t play our cleanest baseball and we’re not hitting much. There’s no margin of error when you’re not scoring a lot of runs and it caught up with us today.”
Bochy had Nick Vincent (0-1) walk Hosmer to load the bases with one in the seventh to bring up Machado. Sam Dyson came on, and Machado grounded to shortstop Brandon Crawford. He got the force at second, but Machado beat Panik’s relay to first as Hunter Renfroe scored.
It was Machado’s first RBI with San Diego, who signed the All-Star slugger to a $300 million, 10-year contract early in spring training.
Austin Hedges added an RBI single in the eighth.
Vincent, who grew up in nearby Ramona, allowed one run and three hits in 1 1/3 innings in relief of Jeff Samardzija.
Adam Warren (1-0) pitched two hitless innings for his first win with San Diego. Kirby Yates pitched the ninth for his third save in three chances.
Samardzija, coming off an injury-marred season, allowed an unearned run and three hits in five innings while striking out two and walking four.
Machado continued to look smooth at third base and rookie shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. not only made a sliding, backhanded stop of Erik Kratz’s grounder in the third, but he caught a throwdown from catcher Hedges and spun to tag Brandon Belt.
“We came out of this series winning this series because of defense,” manager Andy Green said. “Plays we’re not accustomed to seeing made, Manny makes a few of those look easy at third base that didn’t look so easy in the past for us.”
FINAL FOUR HUMOR
Green, whose Kentucky Wildcats lost in the NCAA Midwest Region final Sunday to Auburn, had a little fun with reliever Trey Wingenter, who pitched for the Tigers. “You’ll never pitch again,” Green hollered across the clubhouse at Wingenter. “See me in my office. And you were almost two seconds late for the anthem.”
Giants: 3B Evan Longoria was off Sunday after fouling a ball off his left calf during his second at-bat in Saturday night’s victory.
Giants: LHP Drew Pomeranz makes his season debut vs. LHP Julio Urias in the opener of a three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Padres: LHP Matt Strahm makes his season debut for San Diego. He made five starts as an opener last year as he was eased back from surgery on his torn left patellar tendon the previous season while with Kansas City. He threw 61 1/3 innings in 41 appearances last year.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports