SAN DIEGO – A selling crowd came to cheer on Juan Soto in his first game with the San Diego Padres. He went crazy when Brandon Drury hit a Grand Slam on the first court he saw with his new team.
Fueled by power from Soto and the crowd, the new Padres beat the Colorado Rockies 9-1 on Wednesday night electric at Petco Park.
The crowd of 44,652 even before the game started, gave Soto a standing ovation as he ran to his position in right field in the first inning, and then again when he hit the board at the bottom of the inning. He marched to start a five-round career that culminated in the Drury Grand Prix.
“It feels so amazing. The 23-year-old’s generational talent, which she acquired with Josh Bell in a huge trade with Washington, gave a jolt to both the team and the city,” said Soto. “It’s an amazing feeling how they cheered me on. They gave us the energy to go out there and play hard.”
Before the match, Soto, one of the best young players in the game, said he was happy to have Bale join the trade. The two were flown to San Diego on a private jet Tuesday night.
“For me, I never realized that I would trade together. I was probably thinking to myself,” Soto said. “When I realized I was coming in with Josh, we had a great relationship and I was even more excited and excited that he’s coming and I know what kind of guy he is and what he brings to the table. I’m more than excited to share another club with him.”
Manny Machado, who has held Padres for most of the season, finished fifth and finished three times off the course in San Diego’s fifth straight win. Jake Cronworth had a two-stage shot. The biggest benefactor was Blake Snell (4-5), who scored nine goals in six runs and won his third straight start.
The Padres revealed their new line-up with Soto finishing second and Bale cleaning up a day after getting it on Tuesday in one of the biggest deadline deals ever. Drury was also acquired on Tuesday, from Cincinnati, and put a charge into the already festive atmosphere with a big win over Chad Kuhl with one exit in the first.
Soto walked, Machado doubled, and Bell walked to load the bases before Kronworth hit a pitch to get Soto. Drury then drove the first pitch he saw from Kuhl to the seats in the center left and fans were stunned. It was his second Grand Slam title in his career and he is 21st this season.
“I was just running on adrenaline,” Drury said. “The fans were great tonight. In the beginning, the rules were loaded, I was running on pure adrenaline. Really excited to be here. It was so special for me.”
Drury said he went out to stretch 25 minutes before the game “and the fans were going crazy. I was outside warming up and I was so pumped, ready to go. It was a great day for sure.”
During the hitters meeting before the game, Melvin told the players: “It’s going to be like that. It’s been really all year. When you bring in people like these, it just takes them to a different level. We just wanted to tell them this was going to be really cool.”
Melvin said, “Before we started playing, it was like the place was crowded even before the match started. It was rare.”
Soto’s singles, walked twice, scored once and lost twice. Bell walked twice and scored two goals.
Melvin said Soto “seems to bring some energy. You see it supports the first base on the globes; There is a lot he brings to the table. It’s clear on the base, what he’s doing swinging the bat. The fans seemed to embrace very quickly. He’s just one of those guys who has a lot of energy around him and I think everyone felt that day.”
Soto is under contract for two seasons after this year and said he is not thinking about anything after that.
“I’m only thinking about winning,” he said before the match. “I just came to this club to bring the energy I have, all the good vibes I have to bring here, to win.”
As for Snell, he’s had a third strong start in a row. He set up Rocky in one and four strokes in six runs, without a walk. His four wins this season came in his last five games. After receiving only 15 rounds of support in his first 11 starts, he has received 19 rounds of support in his last two matches.
Kohl (6-7) allowed nine runs and eight hits in five runs, hit four and walked in three.
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