The San Diego Padres opened their 2009 season with a four-game series against the Dodgers. It was a long, exciting series, and a great way to start off the year!
The Padres and the Dodgers faced off on Opening Day with Jake Peavy starting against Hiroki Kuroda. Peavy didn’t have a dominant outing like he did in Spring Training, but he did have a fairly solid start. He threw seven innings, giving up four runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts. Edward Mujica and Luke Gregerson each threw a scoreless inning. Jody Gerut doubled and Brian Giles drove him in with a groundout in the first. That was the Padres’ one and only run of the night, as they dropped the season opener 4-1.
The second game featured Chris Young pitching against Randy Wolf. Young did extremely well. He threw six innings, giving up two runs on five hits with five strikeouts. Edwin Moreno made his major league debut, giving up two walks but throwing a scoreless inning anyway. Duaner Sanchez also threw a scoreless frame. The Padres hitters did very well. They scored their first run on a Kevin Kouzmanoff triple and a Scott Hairston double. In the sixth, Adrian Gonzalez and Kouzmanoff singled. Chase Headley drove them in with a double. Later in the inning, Luis Rodriguez drove Headley in with a sacrifice fly. Heath Bell came into the game to get his first save as the official closer for the Padres. He struck out the side around a walk to earn the save. The Padres took the second game of the series, 4-2.
32-year-old rookie Walter Silva started the third game of the series. He threw five innings, giving up two runs on five hits with four walks. Unfortunately, the bullpen did not do as well as Silva. Edward Mujica gave up three runs, including a two-run double by Manny Ramirez. Luke Gregerson and Frankie De La Cruz had scoreless innings. The offense got three hits. They got two runs without getting a hit, by three walks, a groundout, and a fly out in the fifth. But a positive of the game was rookie Everth Cabrera, who made his major league debut. He got his first major league hit, a double, and a walk. He also played well at shortstop. Ultimately, the Padres lost 5-2.
Kevin Correia and Clayton Kershaw went against each other in the series finale. Correia threw six innings, allowing three runs on five hits with five strikeouts. He did very well. Cla Meredith and Edwin Moreno had great outings. In the bottom of the eighth, it was 3-1 Dodgers. Things weren’t looking that bright for the Padres. Until…Adrian Gonzalez hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot. That set off a Padres rally. Edgar Gonzalez hit a triple. Nick Hundley promptly singled him in. Luis Rodriguez doubled, and Hundley scored all the way from first to take the lead. Heath Bell came in to try to get his second save of the season. First, he gave up a triple to Orlando Hudson. With the potential tying run right there, it looked like he would score. But Bell got Manny Ramirez to ground out, freezing the runner at third. Bell walked Andre Either. Russell Martin came to the plate. With a count of 0-2, he grounded to second. David Eckstein to Everth Cabrera to Adrian Gonzalez. Game over! It was a very exciting come-from-behind win, 4-3.
The Padres had a wonderful series. It was great that they were able to split the series. The big comeback win on Thursday sent a bolt of confidence through the team. They are really excited and pumped. I think this boost of confidence is essential so early in the season for this team who is expected to lose 100+ games. It will be so much fun to see how this team plays going deeper into the season.
This series was a great boost of confidence for the fans as well. Excepting Tuesday’s game, the series had some great crowds. Sure, there were a lot of Dodgers fans, but you could tell that the Friar Faithful had come out in force. To see their team do well and win like they did is huge for the fans. Now they have hope and are excited about the team.
The pitching’s doing well, and the hitters are getting the job done. I can’t wait to see how the Padres do against the Giants in the three-game weekend series. GO PADRES!!
By Kaity Bergquist MLBCenter.com San Diego Padres Correspondent