SAN DIEGO (AP) — Buoyed in part by San Diego State's thrilling win in the Final Four, the San Diego Padres gave a glimpse of how good their superstar-laden lineup can be.
Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run homer and Matt Carpenter added a two-run double to back fellow newcomer Michael Wacha and lead the Padres to their first victory this season, 8-4 against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.
Petco Park was already in a festive mood after the crowd erupted in cheers while watching San Diego State beat Florida Atlantic 72-71 in the Final Four, with Lamont Butler's buzzer-beater coming just a few minutes before first pitch. Rockies manager Bud Black, who pitched for SDSU, punched his left fist in the air and high-fived one of his coaches.
“What an incredible shot. Boy, you could feel it all around the stadium,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “It gave us a little momentum going in.”
The Padres lost consecutive games to the Rockies before playing up to the high expectations they have after making a run to the NL Championship Series last season and then signing Bogaerts to a $280 million, 11-year deal. Bogaerts joined a lineup that already included Manny Machado and Juan Soto, with Fernando Tatis Jr. set to be activated on April 20 after finishing an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
Bogaerts hit a no-doubter into the second deck in left field off José Ureña with two outs in the first inning for the Padres' first homer of the season, with Soto aboard on a grounder that forced Machado.
Machado originally was called safe but the Rockies challenged and the call was overturned.
“It felt good, man,” Bogaerts said. “Turned on an inside pitch, down and in. It was a good swing, especially one that off the bat you know right away it's gone.”
Bogaerts said it was “a mini-example” of how good the Padres can be.
“I know for sure we're still capable of more and obviously we still have some coming help on the way. It's an offense that we'll put up against anyone. We feel pretty confident about our chances,” he said.
Bogaerts batted cleanup as he did on opening night. He hit leadoff on Friday.
“He can really hit," Melvin said. “And he likes to hit in different spots in the lineup, too. I know we've fluctuated a little bit early on and you like to have some stability with our guys, but we're trying to find it a little bit what the lineup's going to be with left and right, and it'll probably be a little bit more stable when Tati comes back.”
Said Bogaerts: "I like it, actually. I do, and Bob has been very open with me. He's been very straight forward and asking me a lot of days ahead if I like this type of stuff. That's been helpful."
Carpenter, who signed as a free agent in December, gave the Padres a 4-0 lead with his double into right field with one out in the third.
Machado gave the Padres some breathing room with an RBI single in the sixth after the Rockies had pulled within one, and Soto had a two-run single in the eighth — his first hit of the season.
Wacha (1-0), who signed as a free agent in February, allowed four runs and six hits in six innings.
Ureña (0-1) lasted just 2 1/3 innings, permitting four runs and five hits.
The Rockies scored three runs in the fifth to pull to 5-4. Charlie Blackmon hit an RBI double and C.J. Cron, who launched two home runs in a 7-2 win on opening night, added a two-run shot deep into the second deck.
REPPIN' THE TECS
Black and Rockies infielder Alan Trejo, who also played at SDSU, wore white Kawhi Leonard No. 15 jerseys during batting practice. Melvin also wore a white Leonard jersey during BP. Padres broadcaster Tony Gwynn Jr. wore a white No. 24 Gwynn jersey, the number his father wore while playing basketball for the Aztecs, where he also played baseball before starting his 20-year Hall of Fame career with the Padres. Ralph Sampson, who played in the 1981 Final Four with Virginia and is a friend of Padres owner Peter Seidler, watched the basketball game from near the Padres dugout during BP.
Padres: Melvin said Matt Williams' colon cancer surgery on Friday went well and the third base coach “feels great.” Melvin said Williams hopes to return as quickly as possible. Mike Shildt is filling in for Williams at third.
Rockies LHP Austin Gomber is scheduled to start Sunday's series finale against RHP Seth Lugo, who makes his Padres debut.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports