Machado shines defensively in Padres debut

March 28th, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- The Manny Machado era in San Diego is off to a fast start.

Machado himself? Not so much. The superstar third baseman will have to wait at least another day for his first Padres hit. But he’ll settle for a 2-0 Opening Day victory over the Giants at Petco Park.

After he was introduced to a raucous ovation during pregame ceremonies, Machado went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts and a double play -- though he put his excellent glove on full display at third base.

Machado, who inked a franchise-record 10-year deal in February, didn't get many chances defensively. But he managed to shine when he did.

In the sixth, the two-time Gold Glover made an excellent running catch against the netting up the third-base line. An inning later, when Wil Myers dropped a shallow popup, Machado was on the scene. He fielded the ricochet off Myers and fired a laser to second base for the forceout.

"A great catch going into the net, and a big cover for us, picking that ball up," said manager Andy Green.

In the scope of the game, it was a critical heads-up play. The Padres had taken a two-run lead in the bottom of the sixth on Myers' RBI single. But if Machado hadn't been there to make the play, the Giants would've had two men on base with no outs.

It made up for a rough day at the plate -- one summed up by his first at-bat. Giants ace Madison Bumgarner threw him three offspeed pitches. An over-eager Machado was way in front of a first-pitch changeup, and he swung through an 0-2 slider.

"He wanted to run into a baseball really badly today," Green said. "He really appreciates the love he's been shown here. At the end of the day, he wanted to win more than anything else. You've got a happy guy in that clubhouse, because he's walking out with a win. That's what he's about. We're looking forward to a lot more with him."