After a couple of uninspiring offensive performances the Padres knew they'd benefit from a fast start on Thursday in Pittsburgh.
Four runs in the first inning did the trick.
The Friars got the bats going early in a 8-3 win over the Pirates, finishing their first road trip of the year with a 5-2 record.
2nd baseman Jake Cronenworth drove in Trent Grisham with an RBI double to make it 1-0, then Manny Machado ripped a 2-run shot just inside the left field foul pole off Pittsburgh starter Mitch Keller to make it 3-0. Eric Hosmer followed with a double and scored on another double by rookie Tucupita Marcano, who was making his first big league start in right field.
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The Padres got two more in the 2nd inning on a bases loaded single by Hosmer to make it 6-0. The question then was, could they make it stand up with Chris Paddack on the mound?
Paddack has had issues with letting games snowball on him. It looked like that would be the case in the 2nd inning. Colin Moran doubled and scored on a double by Erik Gonzalez. Then Paddack walked two hitters to load the bases with one out.
To his credit, the Sheriff found a way out of it. Paddack punched out Keller then got Adam Frazier on a soft groundout to get out of the jam. After that Paddack settled in, retiring nine straight Pirates hitters. He gave up two more unearned runs in the 5th inning on a fielding error by Marcano but did enough to get the win.
San Diego's other runs came on sacrifice flies by Cronenworth and Machado. Relievers Tim Hill and Craig Stammen handled the final four shutout innings out of the bullpen. The Padres finish their first road trip of the year 5-2 to run their record to 9-5 on the season.
As it is every year on April 15, Thursday was Jackie Robinson Day across Major League Baseball. Everyone on the field wore Robinson's iconic #42 but several players took it a step further.
More than 100 big leaguers, among them Padres outfielder Tommy Pham, donated their gameday paychecks to the Players Alliance, which will make donations to the Breaking Barriers campaign in Jackie's honor. Breaking Barriers is working with the Jackie Robinson Foundation to provide scholarships to students that have overcome obstacles in their lives.
Now, the real fun begins with to the series the entire baseball world has been waiting for: a 3-game weekend set at Petco Park against the reigning World Series champion Dodgers.
Ryan Weathers will make his first career Major League start in the series opener on Friday night against Walker Buehler. After that it's a couple of heavyweight fights with Yu Darvish meeting Clayton Kershaw and Blake Snell running up against Trevor Bauer.
LISTEN: With NBC 7 San Diego's Darnay Tripp and Derek Togerson behind the mic, On Friar will cover all things San Diego Padres. Interviews, analysis, behind-the-scenes...the ups, downs, and everything in between. Tap here to find On Friar wherever you listen to podcasts.