Ken Harrison 8:30 a.m., July 31
Padres pummelled by Mets in season opener
The San Diego Padres were mauled by the New York Mets on opening day where pitching and hitting failed to be competitive
Padres starter Edinson Volquez was erratic and the relief pitchers weren't much better, as the bats didn't connect often enough and San Diego dropped the opening game of the 2013 season to the New York Mets by the score of 11-2. The good news is that 161 games remain in order to right the ship.
The Mets began their attack in the bottom of the second inning with two outs when John Buck drew a walk and then Ruben Tejada doubled Buck home. Mets starting pitcher Jon Niese then singled home Tejada and New York staked itself to a 2-0 lead.
The Padres got a run back in the top of the third inning with one out, when Chris Denorfia walked and Everth Cabrera was plunked by a Niese pitch, and Carlos Quentin hit a single up the middle to plate Denorfia. San Diego halved New York's lead to 2-1.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Mets opened it up. With one out, David Wright singled and stole second base. Ike Davis ground out to second base, moving Wright to third.
Marlon Byrd then singled scoring Wright, and after Lucas Duda walked, John Buck singled home Byrd. The Mets led the Padres 4-1v after three innings.
The Mets increased their lead in the fourth inning and chased Edinson Volquez in the process. Volquez walked the Mets pitcher Niese and then gave up a double to Collin Cowgill which put Niese at third base, and Anthony Bass replaced Volquez.
Daniel Murphy then singled home Niese and Cowgill took third base. Murphy went to second base on a wild pitch and David Wright ground to third which scored Cowgill. One out later, Marlon Byrd singled home Murphy and the Mets took 7-1 advantage from that point.
In the top of the sixth inning, Yonder Alonso took a 0-1 Niese curve ball over the right field wall to make it 7-2, Mets. That would be the last run the Padres would score on opening day.
Brad Brach relieved Anthony Bass in the bottom of the seventh inning and proceeded to load the bases. Colin Cowgill then stepped up and hit a grand slam, capping the scoring as the 11-2 final score was complete.
The Padres only managed four hits off of Mets pitching, highlighted by Alonso's homer and Quentin's RBI single, along with a single by Chris Denorfia and Jedd Gyorko's first hit in the big leagues, a double. The Mets pounded out 13 hits against Padres pitching. Each team had an error, neither of which figured in the scoring.
Edinson Volquez took the loss for the Padres pitching only three innings (plus two batters into the fourth inning) and giving up six runs on six hits while walking three and striking out four. Jon Niese got the win for the Mets, going 6 2/3 innings and giving up two runs on four hits with a pair of walks and striking out four Padres hitters.
Interestingly, manager Buddy Black led off with Chris Denorfia (against the left-handed pitcher Niese) and then followed with the switch-hitting Everth Cabrera who led the National League in stolen bases last season. And with Chase Headley out with the broken thumb, he chose to slot left-handed hitting Yonder Alonso in the three-hole before Carlos Quentin batted clean-up, and Jedd Gyorko hit fifth. That's a lot of faith to have in Alonso and Gyorko, but they did come through with hits, as did Denorfia. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough offense and the pitching was ineffective, but paying attention to how the lineups are notched will prove telling in April until Chase gets back.
Tuesday is an off day because Major League Baseball rolls like this in the beginning of the season. So, if you are stuck with Time Warner Cable, no worries, we're all blacked out of Padres baseball on Tuesday. Play resumes on Wednesday at Citi Field, and we'll bring it here after the game. Presuming there's no rain. It's New York. They have weather there, which is why we prefer to live in San Diego.