Soto, Tatis Jr hit long home runs, Padres beat Yankees 5-1 in series opener
Fri, May 26, 2023 11:36 PM
By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. didn't just hit long two-run homers followed by impressive bat flips. They were making memories.
Each time a player homers for the San Diego Padres, the batter poses in the dugout with the baserunners for a Polaroid that is added to the celebratory wall between the clubhouse and field back at Petco Park.
“Beautiful memories,” Tatis said after Friday night’s 5-1 win over the New York Yankees. “If you have a Polaroid, something good happened.”
Soto and Tatis lingered at home plate to admire no-doubt drives that totaled 871 feet and highlighted a series opener between high-profile teams trying to overcome sluggish starts.
A crowd of 46,724 filled Yankee Stadium, just the third sellout this season. San Diego is 24-27 and 6 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. The Yankees are 30-23 following their third straight loss, eight games back of Tampa Bay in the AL East.
Soto put the Padres ahead in the fifth inning against Randy Vásquez (0-1), a 24-year-old right-hander making his big league debut. After Vásquez grazed Jake Cronenworth’s thigh with a pitch, Soto fouled a 1-0 cutter off his left knee and turned on a full-count cutter for his 10th home run. The 432-foot drive to right field came off the bat at 114 mph, the Padres’ hardest-hit home run this season.
“I was a little mad. I fouled it off myself — I don't like that. And then he threw me the same pitch, trying to make me foul it off again," Soto said. “I just hammered that ball.”
Soto transferred his bat to his left hand and then, holding the fat end, flipped the lumber into the ground and pounded his chest with his right fist before his trot.
Tatis boosted the lead to 4-0 in the sixth following Austin Nola's walk, hitting Ron Marinaccio's first-pitch changeup 439 feet for his eighth homer, a 113 mph drive to left. He held the bat as he watched the ball, then casually flipped it toward the Padres’ bench.
“Juan hit the floor. I just tossed it to the air. So I go with myself,” Tatis said, grading the bat flips.
Tatis, who returned last month from an 80-game drug suspension, jawed with fans in right field when going to his position for the bottom half, then again at the end of the game.
“It’s loud. It’s New York. You’re going to hear everything,” Tatis said. “You’re just giving a good time to the fans. You've just got to learn how to embrace it.”
Joe Musgrove (2-2), pitching in New York for the first time since his seven shutout innings beat the Mets in the decisive game of last year’s wild-card series, ended a four-start winless streak. He allowed one run and six hits in a season-high 6 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and no walks.
"This is a hostile environment," Musgrove said. “I feel like this place always brings out the best in me.”
With his grandfather, uncles and cousins looking on, Vásquez allowed two runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings with six strikeouts and a walk. He threw 51 of 84 pitches for strikes, averaging 93.7 mph with his fastball. Vásquez's No. 98 became highest number worn by a Yankees starting pitcher, surpassing JP Sears’ No. 92 last year.
“I took a moment and looked around," Vasquez said through a translator. "You can see how majestic Yankee Stadium is and so many thoughts came into mind.”
He was optioned back to the minors after the game.
Bench coach Carlos Mendoza ran the Yankees in place of manager Aaron Boone, suspended for one game by Major League Baseball following his fourth ejection of the season on Thursday.
Anthony Rizzo had an RBI grounder in the sixth for New York, and Rougned Odor added a run-scoring single in the ninth for San Diego against Ryan Weber, giving him 12 RBIs in his last five games.
Padres: 3B Manny Machado took on-field batting practice for the first time since his left hand was fractured by a pitch from Kansas City’s Brad Keller on May 15. Manager Bob Melvin said Machado was unlikely to play this weekend. ... INF Ha-Seong Kim was out of the lineup, a day after fouling a ball off his left knee, but could return Saturday.
Yankees: DH/OF Giancarlo Stanton (strained left hamstring) could start a rehab assignment Tuesday. ... RHP Tommy Kahnle (right biceps tendinitis) is to make a second rehab appearance Sunday, likely another on Tuesday, then be activated for next weekend’s series at Dodger Stadium. ... 3B Josh Donaldson (right hamstring) was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and two walks as the DH in his second rehab game for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He’ll have Saturday off, play Sunday, then be evaluated.
Yankees RHP Luis Severino (0-0, 1.93 ERA) makes his second start of the season Saturday after recovering from a strained lat muscle. San Diego RHP Michael Wacha (5-1, 3.58) has won three straight starts.
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