Juan Soto makes Padres debut: Star outfielder pitches one-hitter, however teammates battle to win

Just over 24 hours from trading that changed the landscape of Major League Baseballnew look San Diego Padres acted against his fans. Newly acquired Josh Bell and Brandon Drury were both in the lineup, but clearly the main dish here — at least before the game started — was the Padres debut of 23-year-old superstar Juan Soto.

Soto went to second in the lineup, hitting MVP candidate Manny Machado and freshman Bell.

The Padres would send their fans home extremely happy with a 9-1 victory. Soto wasn’t the star of the show, and the rest of the Padres showed how scary it can be to be around him. It was a raucous event in San Diego from start to finish. The published attendance was 44,652, which is a sellout.

Eyewitness accounts called the atmosphere “electric,” and Padres broadcasters remarked several times that it was possibly the loudest Petco Park they’d ever seen. That was before the game even started.

Here’s Soto going to right field for his first inning with the team.

He came to the plate with one out in the bottom of the first and the entire crowd stood. Many fans could be seen holding their phones to record the occasion. when Rocky mountains pitcher Chad Kuhl ended the count to make it 3-0, he was peppered with shots as the Padres faithful began chanting “SOTO! SOTO! SOTO!”

Soto certainly gave the green light for said 3-0, but the fourth ball wasn’t even close. His first appearance with the Padres was a walk.

Of course, that walk ended up being the catalyst for a huge inning. After Soto’s walk, Machado doubled, Bell walked, Jake Cronenworth was hit by a pitch, and then Drury hit a grand slam on the Padre’s first pitch:

This innings set the tone for the rest of the game. Machado would go 3 for 4 with a home run and a double. Cronenworth moved home and drove home three times. Trent Grisham had an RBI double. Bell was on base twice and scored both times.

Soto, with his first hit as a Padre in the bottom of the eighth, lined a single to right field.

He finished 1-for-3 with two walks and a run scored. Even if it was overshadowed, it’s a very good debut.

On the mound, Padres lefty Blake Snell continued his nice run. In July, Snell went 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings. He allowed just one hit on four hits and struck out nine without a walk in six innings Wednesday. He got into foul trouble in the third, but otherwise dominated.

Soto didn’t play in the game, but he didn’t need to. That’s the beautiful thing about baseball. He played great and Machado, Cronenworth and Drury went crazy. There will be games where Soto will be the star. The goal of acquiring Soto, Bell and Drury was to make the lineup as scary as possible. On day one with the new-look lineup, mission accomplished.

The Padres have now won five straight and play the Rockies again at home on Thursday before traveling to Los Angeles for a three-game series against the No. 1 seed. Dodgers.

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