Padres Win 1st Road Game of 2019

San Diego beats St. Louis in the Cardinals home opener behind Tatis Jr. HR

In terms of average age on the Opening Day roster, the San Diego Padres have the youngest roster in Major League Baseball.

Their starting lineup on Friday in St. Louis looked like this (current age listed first):
36 – Ian Kinsler
29 – Eric Hosmer
26 – Manny Machado
23 – Franmil Reyes
28 – Wil Myers
24 – Franchy Cordero
20 – Fernando Tatis Jr.
23 – Francisco Mejia
22 – Nick Margevicious

That’s not your typical starting nine. But what these guys lack in experience they seem to be making up for with crazy, stupid talent. The kid on the mound and the kid at shortstop helped the Friars put a damper on the Cardinals home opener with a 5-3 win.

San Diego also has a 5-3 record to start the 2019 season and remains alone in 2nd place, one game behind the Dodgers (Los Angeles beat Colorado 10-6 at Coors Field on Friday).

Margevicious, the rookie making his second career big league start, was efficient against a potent St. Louis lineup. He went 5.0 innings and allowed just one run on one hit, a solo home run by Paul DeJong, and he did it with just 54 pitches. He could have gone longer but he was trailing 1-0 in the 6th inning because, as manager Andy Green said, the Padres had left an army on base.

San Diego had left eight runners on the bases through the first five innings so, with Cordero on 2nd base and two outs, Green sent in Hunter Renfroe to pinch-hit for the pitcher. Just like on Wednesday when Green sent in Mejia to pinch-hit for Joey Lucchesi in a win over the Diamondbacks, this move worked perfectly.

Renfroe demolished a 2-run home run to left field, his team-leading 3rd homer of the season, to put the Padres on top 2-1 and give Margevicious a chance for the win. That chance went away in the bottom of the 6th when reliever Robert Stock allowed an RBI single to Marcell Ozuna that tied the game 2-2. But in the top of the 7th the kids did damage.

Machado and Reyes walked. A wild pitch put runners at 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. Myers grounded out harmlessly but Cordero made a productive out with a long sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Manny and put the Padres up 3-2. The next batter was Tatis Jr.

In his first at-bat the Padres phenom received a nice ovation from the Busch Stadium crowd because his father spent several productive seasons in St. Louis, a very nice gesture from the Cardinals fans. They might have wanted to take it back after Tatis Jr. turned on a 97-MPH fastball from Alex Reyes, launching a 2-run home run into the left field seats to make it a 5-2 Padres lead.

Trey Wingenter gave up Paul Goldschmidt’s 5th homer of the year in the 8th inning but Kirby Yates worked a perfect 9th inning to get his 4th save of the season. San Diego can win their first road series of 2019 on Saturday if fellow rookie Chris Paddack can beat Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha.

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