SAN DIEGO (AP) — The first sellout crowd at Petco Park since 2019 was treated to Fernando Tatis Jr.’s electrifying solo home run in the sixth inning and Victor Caratini’s game-winning, two-run shot in the ninth.
In between, Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer also homered for the Padres, who recovered from closer Mark Melancon’s blown save in Cincinnati’s four-run ninth to take a 6-4 thriller against the Reds on Thursday night.
“It felt like more than a win, for a lot of reasons,” manager Jayce Tingler said as fireworks went off over the downtown ballpark to put a capper on what was billed as “San Diego’s Opening Day.”
Caratini homered two batters after Eric Hosmer hit a tying, two-run homer in the ninth, a crazy finish on a night when the Padres, who made the playoffs last year after a 13-year drought, celebrated the ballpark returning to full capacity following the state’s reopening plan that went into effect Tuesday.
But the Padres had to work for this one after the Reds rallied for four runs in the ninth against Melancon, including a go-ahead, two-run homer by rookie Jonathan India.
Machado drew a leadoff walk against Ryan Hendrix and Hosmer homered with one out. Amir Garrett (0-2) came on and allowed Jake Cronenworth’s single and then Caratini’s shot into the left-field seats. It was Hosmer’s sixth homer and Caratini’s fifth.
“It was the first time Melancon’s really given up anything without an inherited runner, so to be able to pick him up after so many times he’s picked us up through the year, and then the magical finish there.” Tingler said. “This one feels like more than just a regular win.”
The Padres won for just the second time in nine games. They were coming off a 1-5 trip to New York and Colorado, including a three-game sweep by the Rockies, that Tingler described as “just terrible.”
The Reds saw their six-game winning streak snapped.
The Padres took a 2-0 lead into the ninth after Tatis and Machado homered off Wade Miley. Melancon was one out away from his big league-leading 20th save before he melted down against the red-hot Reds.
Joey Votto started the Reds’ rally with a leadoff single and Tucker Barnhart doubled. Kyle Farmer had an RBI groundout before pinch-hitter Tyler Stephenson tied it with a two-out single.
India homered to give the Reds a 4-2 lead and quiet the crowd. It was his sixth.
Pierce Johnson (2-2) got the win.
Miley, who threw his first career no-hitter at Cleveland on May 7, had frustrated the struggling Padres until Tatis drove a high-arcing shot that just cleared the wall in left-center for San Diego’s first hit with two outs in the sixth. The star shortstop dropped his bat and began his trot after sending the crowd of 40,362 into a frenzy.
It was the 22nd for Tatis, tying his career high set as a rookie in 2019 and matching Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the major league lead. Tatis was limited to 84 games as a rookie due to injuries.
“He wants to be the best in the game and right now he’s doing a lot of good things,” Tingler said. “The ball just absolutely explodes off his bat.”
Machado hit a monster shot into the second deck in left-center off Miley leading off the seventh, his 10th.
Joe Musgrove, who threw the first no-hitter in the history of his hometown Padres on April 9 at Texas, had been in line for the victory before Melancon’s meltdown.
“This meant everything to me,” Musgrove said. “It’s been so long since we’ve had a full crowd in there, I swear to God it felt like a playoff game at the start of the game, the nerves I had, the intensity. I had to kind of slow myself down after that first hitter. It was just so much fun, and to pull out the win the way we did makes it even more special.”
The Padres treated this game like a real opening day by hanging bunting and introducing both teams before the game. A giant American flag was unfurled by 275 U.S. Navy sailors prior to the national anthem and there was a flyover of F/A-18 Hornets from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
Fans were no doubt a bit nervous as Miley retired 13 straight batters from the first to fifth inning. Until Tatis’ home run, the only baserunners Miley allowed were on walks to Tatis in the first and Cronenworth in the fifth.
Musgrove held the Reds to four singles in seven innings, struck out two and walked three.
Miley allowed two runs and four hits seven-plus innings, struck out five and walked two.
“It didn’t work out, but if you’re a fan of baseball, that was a cool one,” Miley said.
FLASH THE LEATHER
Hosmer made a nifty play at first base to start a double play in the first inning. After India drew a leadoff walk, Hosmer fielded Jesse Winker’s chopper, stepped on first, wheeled and threw to Tatis, who tagged out India. … In the seventh, Machado, moving from third base to shallow right in a shift, ran down Barnhart’s ball and made a sensational off-balance throw to get him at first.
Padres: Tingler said LHP Drew Pomeranz (left shoulder impingement) threw a bullpen and that C Austin Nola is making progress in his recovery from a sprained left knee. Pomeranz has been on the injured list since May 10 and Nola since May 25.
RHP Tony Santillan (0-0, 1.93) of the Reds and RHP Chris Paddack (3-5, 4.14) of the Padres are scheduled to start Friday night in the second game of the four-game series. Santillan will be making his second big league appearance. He made his debut Sunday at Colorado and left leading 3-1 with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. Ryan Hendrix came on and struck out Dom Nuñez to end the inning.
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