Welcome to Padres baseball, extreme makeover edition.
Starting in the off-season, and continuing all the way through the end of Spring Training, General Manager Jed Hoyer was tweaking the roster. His work was on full display in Thursday's opener against the Cardinals in St. Louis. Nine different players made their debut in a Padres uniform. They also got their first win in a Padres uniform.
San Diego took down St. Louis 5-3 in 11 innings (no small feat, considering they'd lost 12 of their last 13 games at the new Busch Stadium). The new double play combination of Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett completed four twin killings. New centerfielder Cameron Maybin made a diving catch in centerfield, hit a game-tying home run with two outs in the 9th inning, and drove in the winning run with a single in the 11th. New reliever Pat Neshek tossed a scoreless inning to get his first Major League win since 2007.
In between, Jorge Cantu got his first Padre hit, Cedric Hunter scored his first Padre run and Chad Qualls worked a scoreless inning. Brad Hawpe and Alberto Gonzalez also got their first at-bats in the team's new gray road uniforms.
There were a few familiar faces on the field. Tim Stauffer started and went six innings, allowing just two runs. Heath Bell tossed a perfect 11th to get the save. Nick Hundley had a pair of hits and drove in a pair of runs. Will Venable doubled and scored. Chase Headley scored the game-winning run with some of the best baserunning you'll ever see. He went first to third on Maybin's single, then scored when Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot bobbled the throw from the outfield.
Oh, and did I mention the only Cardinal without a hit was Albert Pujols? The Hall of Famer went 0-5 and grounded in to three of those double plays.
All in all it was a pretty good day at the yard. They'll take tomorrow off and go at it again on Saturday with Clayton Richard on the mound against Jake Westbrook.