For the Cards' home opener, the Padres trotted out Nick Margevicius, a rookie who had not pitched a regular season game above High-A ball until March 30 of this year. A 7th round draft pick in 2017, he started out the season last year in A ball, got an early July promotion to High-A, then pitched in the AA playoffs. He was a non-roster invitee to Padres camp, and his contract was just purchased by the Padres last Saturday. The lefty's fastball tops out at about 88 mph, and no Cards player had ever faced him. Jack Flaherty got the nod for the Cards and was looking to go deep in the game to give our bullpen some rest.
After getting through the 1st with only a 3-2 walk to Machado, Flaherty got into a jam in the 2nd. Cordero bunted to 3rd for a base hit with 1 out, and Tatis blooped a base hit that dropped just inside the right field line to move Cordero to 3rd. But Flaherty struck out Mejia and got the pitcher to pop out to first to end the threat. Flaherty got into another jam in the 3rd when Hosmer and Machado hit back-to-back singles to center with 1 out. Cleanup hitter Franmil Reyes grounded weakly to 3rd for a force out at 2nd to move Hosmer to 3rd. After getting Myers in the hole 0-2, he went to 3-2 on him before striking him out on a slider to strand runners at the corners.
In the top of the 4th, Cordero lined a double down the right field line to lead things off. With Tatis at bat, Flaherty’s 1-1 pitch slipped out of his hand and went over Yadi’s head and all the way to the screen for a wild pitch to move Cordero to 3rd. Flaherty got out of this predicament as well, striking out Tatis on a close 2-2 pitch on the corner down and in, getting Mejia to pop out to 3rd and striking out the pitcher looking on a 3-2 slider.
DeJong finally got us our 1st hit in the bottom of the 4th when, with 1 out, he drove a hanging slider into the bullpen in left-center for a solo shot to give the Cards a 1-0 lead. Until then our only baserunner was when Goldschmidt drew a 1-out walk in the 1st. With 2 out in the 5th, Flaherty walked Machado, then with Machado running on the pitch, Reyes poked a base hit to right to move Machado to 3rd. For the 4th inning in a row, Flaherty got out of trouble by striking out Myers with runners at the corners, and the Padres had already stranded 8 runners.
With Flaherty having thrown 98 pitches through 5 IP and his spot coming up next in the bottom of the 6th, Leone came in to pitch the top of the 6th for the Cards. He issued a leadoff walk to Cordero on a 3-2 pitch that looked like a strike, then Tatis grounded one softly back to the mound to move Cordero to 2nd. Mejia flied out to right for the 2nd out. Despite Pads’ starter Margevicius only having thrown 54 pitches to this point, they sent up Hunter Renfroe to pinch-hit and he yanked a hanging cutter into the left field seats for a 2-run shot to give the Padres a 2-1 lead. Former Cardinal Robert Stock came in to pitch the 6th for the Padres and issued a 1-out double to right to Carpenter. After Goldschmidt struck out looking, DeJong walked for the first time this year to bring up Ozuna. He came through with a grounded base hit through the right side to score Carpenter, move DeJong to 3rd and tie the game 2-2. The replays showed that Ozuna’s grounder may have nicked DeJong in the leg, which would have resulted in DeJong being called out and the run not counting. The umpires got on the headset on the request of the Padres’ manager, but figured out quickly that the play is a non-reviewable play under the rules and the run counted.
Reyes issued back-to-back walks to Machado and Reyes to start the 7th. The 2-2 pitch to Machado looked like strike 3, as did the 3-1 pitch to Reyes. With Myers at the plate, Reyes threw a slider in the dirt that Yadi tried to backhand but missed and it rolled to the backstop for a wild pitch to move the runners to 2nd and 3rd. With the infield in a bit, Myers grounded a ball to Wong at 2nd and he bobbled it a bit, but threw to 1st for the out. Machado stayed put at 3rd. Cordero hit a Sac Fly to center to score Machado and give the Padres a 3-2 lead. Tatis then hit the next offering from Reyes, a high 97 mph fastball at the very top of the zone, for a 2-run HR just over the left field wall to extend the Pads’ lead to 5-2.
After Craig Stammen shut us down with 2 strikeouts in the bottom of the 7th, Brebbia did the same to the Padres in the top of the 8th. We were able to score 1 run off of Trey Wingenter in our half of the 8th. After O’Neill (who came in to play RF on the double switch that brought Brebbia into the game) and Carpenter struck out back-to-back, Goldschmidt hit an inside 98 mph fastball just barely over the center field wall for a solo shot and a brief curtain call to cut the Pads’ lead to 5-3. It might have been another run if Carpenter had not swung at at least one ball 4. DeJong made everyone stand up when he skied a center-cut fastball to left-center, but it stalled at the track. Brebbia retired the Padres in order again in the 9th with 2 more strikeouts. Pads’ closer Kirby Yates made quick work of Ozuna and Molina on groundouts, and struck out J. Martinez (who was pinch-hitting for Brebbia) to end the game.
Odds and Ends...To make room for the activation of IF Jedd Gyorko from the 10-day IL, the Cards optioned UT Drew Robinson to AAA Memphis last night before Memphis's game. Neither Robinson nor Munoz have played much, and Robinson is left-handed, but Munoz is the incumbent and has one of the strongest throwing arms on the team....Even if Reyes did get squeezed by the home plate umpire on strikes, the score could have been much worse today. The Padres left 10 men on base and hit 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position...The Cubs have scored the fewest number of runs through 6 games since 1901 and are 1-5 on the season...The Brewers, meanwhile are 6-1. Five out of their six wins have come by one run, including all 3 games in their most recent sweep of the Reds. Their other victory was by 2 runs.