SAN DIEGO – A sell-out crowd came to cheer Juan Soto in his first game with the San Diego Padres. When Brandon Drury hit the Grand Slam on the first pitch with his new team, it went bonkers.
Feeding the energy of Soto and the crowd, the revamped Padres defeated the Colorado Rockies by lightning 9-1 on Wednesday night at Petco Park.
The crowd of 44,652 animated before the game even began, and gave Soto a standing ovation as he ran for his position in right field in the first inning, and again when he came to the plate at the bottom of the innings. He walked to start a five-run rally with Drury’s Grand Slam.
“It feels great. It brings a lot of emotion to me,” said 23-year-old generation talent Soto, whose acquisition of Washington with Josh Bell in a blockbuster business shocked both the team and the city. Amazing how they cheered for me. He gave us the energy to go out there and work harder.”
Before the game, Soto, one of the game’s best young hitters, said he was pleased that Bell was roped in in the trade. Both were flown to San Diego on a private jet on Tuesday night.
“For me, I never realized I was going to do business together. I was probably thinking to myself,” Soto said. “When I realized I was coming with passion, the one between us Good relationship and I was more excited and more excited because he is coming and I know what kind of guy he is and what he brings to the table. I am excited to share another clubhouse with them.”
Manny Machado, who has led the Padres for most of the season, took the lead in fifth place and completed a triple short of the cycle in San Diego’s fifth consecutive win. Jake Cronenworth hits a two-run shot. The big beneficiary was left-hander Blake Snell (4-5), who scored nine runs in six innings and won his third straight start.
The Padres unveiled their new look with Soto second and Bell hitting cleanup, a day after they were received on Tuesday in one of the biggest deadline deals ever. Dury was also received on Tuesday from Cincinnati, and put a charge in the already festive atmosphere with a grand slam from Chad Kuhl in the first.
Soto walked, Machado doubled and Bell went to load the base, before Cronenworth was hit with a pitch to bring Soto in. Drury saw the first pitch from Kuhl in the left-center seats and the fans went crazy. It was the second Grand Slam of his career and the 21st homer of the season.
“I was just running on adrenaline,” Durie said. “The fans were incredible tonight. Batting first, base load, I was just running on pure adrenaline. Really excited to be here. It was very special for me.”
Drury said he went out to stretch 25 minutes before the game “and the fans were going crazy. I was warming up there and I was just like pumped, ready to go. It was definitely a It was a wonderful day.”
During the pre-game hitters meeting, Melvin told the players, “It’s going to be like this. It’s really been a whole year. When you bring in people like this it takes it to a different level. We Just wanted to tell them it’s going to be great.
“Before we even hit the ground, it looked like the place was already packed before the game started. It was rare,” said Melvin.
Soto scored a single, walked twice, scored once and was grounded twice. Bell made two walks and scored twice.
Melvin said Soto “brings some energy. You see him backing first base to ground balls; there’s just a lot he brings to the table. Obviously at base what he does as he swings the bat. Fans a lot.” Hugs early. He is one of those people who has a lot of energy around and I think everyone felt that way today.”
Soto is under contract for two seasons beyond this year and said he is not thinking of anything after that.
“I’m just thinking about winning,” he said before the game. “I’m coming to this clubhouse just to bring out the energy that I have, to win all the good vibes that I have to be here.”
For Snell, his third straight was a strong start. He kept the Rockies one run and four hits in six innings, stopping without a move. His four wins this season have come from his last five starts. After receiving only 15 runs in his first 11 starts, he has got 19 runs in his last two starts.
Kuhl (6-7) conceded nine runs and eight hits in five innings, scored four runs and scored three runs.