Gore Looks Good in Debut But Padres Lose to Atlanta

Rookie shows promise against defending World Series champs

In 2019, MacKenzie Gore was the Minor League Pitcher of the Year and the #1 pitching prospect in baseball. Then he had injury and control issues and fell off the radar of most prospect talent evaluators.

On Friday night Gore showed the world he's back and every bit as good as everyone thought he was.

The 23-year-old Padres lefty made his Major League debut against Atlanta at Petco Park. He didn't figure in the decision in a 5-2 Braves win but he showed the kind of dominant, top-of-the-rotation stuff that San Diego hoped they were getting when they drafted him 3rd overall in 2017.

Gore struck out the first batter he faced, Braves All-Star Ozzie Albies, with a fastball high in the strike zone. He went 5.1 innings and allowed just two runs, one when he left a heater over the middle of the plate and Albies got him back with a solo homer and another on a bloop single by Marcell Ozuna.

Gore struck out three and walked a pair in place of the injured Blake Snell and if he makes a couple more starts like the one he turned in against the defending World Series champs he might be sticking in the rotation after Snell returns.

Alas, the Friars offense couldn't replicate Thursday night's fireworks against Kyle Wright, who was taken two picks after Gore in that 2017 draft class. They didn't score until the 5th inning. Wright hit rookie C.J. Abrams with a pitch. The 21-year-old speedster immediately stole 2nd base and scored on a single by Ha-Seong Kim to make it a 2-1 Braves lead.

Kim scored on a double by Manny Machado, who lofted a looper into shallow left field. Kim was running on contact and scored from 1st base to tie it 2-2. After going 5-for-6 on Thursday night Manny had three more knocks on Friday. But, that was the last time the Padres scored and their bullpen faltered in the late innings.

Pierce Johnson got touched up in the 8th inning. With a runner at 1st and two outs he gave up a single, a 2-run double, and an infield single that put Atlanta on top 4-2. Johnson was replaced by Dinelson Lamet, who walked Orlando Arcia then uncorked a wild pitch to let a 5th run come home.

On Saturday the Padres send Nick Martinez to the mound for his first start at Petco Park. Atlanta counters with Ian Anderson.

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