Sunday was Jackie Robinson Day and Military Opening Day at Petco Park. It was also a day game, and that was cause for alarm.
The Padres were the only team in Major League Baseball that had not won a day game yet, dropping their first four under the sun. If you’re going to break a skid you might as well break it with gusto.
Rookie lefty Joey Lucchesi was stellar and rookie infielder Christian Villanueva hit another home run in a 10-1 lambasting of the Giants on one of those days where everything just seemed to work.
Lucchesi impressed again in his fourth big league start, working his way through six innings of one-run ball. The 24-year-old who’s considered the No. 9 prospect in the Padres system (although a few more starts like this will shed that “prospect” label and turn him into a legitimate big league starter) punched out nine Giants hitters. He’s now sitting in the top-10 in the National League in ERA, strikeouts, and WHIP.
It’s nice to pitch with a bit of a cushion, too. The Giants took a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the second inning to score former Padres catcher Nick Hundley. San Diego scored in each of the next five innings.
Third baseman Christian Villanueva drove in three runs with a double and solo home run — his fifth of the year. Villanueva has homered in back-to-back games after going nine games without a dinger following his three-home run outburst in the first week of the season.
Outfielder Jose Pirela, back in the leadoff spot, singled, doubled, tripled, drove in three runs and scored three more runs.
The Padres have their first three-game winning streak of the year and after taking two of three from San Francisco have won two straight series against division rivals. San Diego also moves past the Giants into third place in the National League West. The Padres host the Dodgers for three games starting Monday night. Robbie Erlin will get the start in place of the suspended Luis Perdomo against Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Also of note, first baseman Eric Hosmer sat out a second-straight game with lower back tightness. Manager Andy Green said Hosmer might be back in the lineup on Monday. Outfielder Wil Myers, who is on the 10-day disabled list, took batting practice on the field before the game. He’s expected to start a rehab assignment this week.