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Manny hits a building on 1st Padres HR

After a week when star impressed with his glove, his bat awoke too
@AJCassavell
April 3, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- Fans in the Western Metal Supply Co. Building might want to take cover for the next decade. Manny Machado has officially arrived in San Diego. Machado sent his first home run as a Padre into the building's lower level on Wednesday afternoon, a 106-mph laser in the

SAN DIEGO -- Fans in the Western Metal Supply Co. Building might want to take cover for the next decade. Manny Machado has officially arrived in San Diego.

Machado sent his first home run as a Padre into the building's lower level on Wednesday afternoon, a 106-mph laser in the seventh inning of San Diego's 4-1 victory over the D-backs.

"Feels great," said Machado, grinning ear-to-ear as music blared in the Padres' clubhouse to cap their winning homestand. "To finally get that out of the way, get it in front of the home crowd and come out with a 'W,' it couldn't be any better."

Machado's first week as a Padre has been largely defined by his elite glove. On Saturday, he made an absurd diving catch in foul territory. Machado has made sliding plays to his right and to his left. On Opening Day, he showed off his cannon arm when Wil Myers dropped a popup and Machado fielded the ricochet.

To some extent, Machado's bat has lagged behind. He swatted a career-high 37 homers between Baltimore and Los Angeles last season, but he entered play on Wednesday hitting just .217. In the series finale against the D-backs, Machado went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks.

"He came in here with 40,000 people chanting his name," said Padres manager Andy Green. "I don't know what that's like, but 40,000 people screaming your name, and you want to give them something special, I'm sure there's a little overamped nature in just being a human being. He's handled it fine. ... He's played great defense. The bat's going to be a big part of it, too."

Machado made that very clear with one practically perfect swing on Wednesday. He fell into an 0-2 hole against D-backs right-hander Matt Andriese, who attempted to come inside with a 92-mph fastball.

"I got two strikes," Machado said. "I was just trying to protect the plate trying to do everything possible to make good contact with it."

Andriese executed the pitch, spotting it about four inches off the inside corner. Machado, with his trademark quick hands, turned on it anyway. Somehow, some way, he kept it fair inside the left field line.

"There's not too many hitters who can do what he can do," said hitting coach Johnny Washington.

"That's why we went and signed him for what we did," Green said.

Ten years, $300 million to be exact. Both were easily franchise records, and the signing marked a significant course change for the Padres, who haven’t reached the postseason since 2006.

The sense of optimism in San Diego is palpable. Top prospects Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack have already made an impact. On Wednesday, Francisco Mejía came off the bench and delivered a go-ahead pinch-hit double in the fifth.

Those three all rank among the sport's top 32 prospects. Clearly, Machado isn't the only new piece in the Padres' revival efforts, though he's undoubtedly a big one.

When Machado strode to the plate in the seventh, the Padres already led, 2-0, and his two-run blast served as a fitting conclusion to an entertaining first week. San Diego went 4-3 against San Francisco and Arizona, playing an exciting brand of baseball as it relied on one of the sport's youngest rosters.

"Guys are bringing energy, winning games, it's a different mentality here," Machado said. "It's been nice, especially playing in front of the home crowd for the first series. They're bringing the energy as much as we are. It was an amazing homestand."

With an equally amazing finish.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.