SAN DIEGO (AP) – C.J. Cron homered twice and drove in five runs for the Colorado Rockies, who beat San Diego 7-2 on Thursday to dampen opening night of the most anticipated season in Padres history at chilly, wet Petco Park.
Cron hit a go-ahead, three-run homer with one out in the fifth inning and added an opposite-field leadoff shot in the seventh for his 17th career multi-homer game. Elehuris Montero followed with another homer off reliever Domingo Tapia.
Colorado had 17 hits, with the heart of the order collecting 10 – four by Cron and three apiece by Kris Bryant and Charlie Blackmon. The Rockies also struck out 17 times and committed three errors, including one by Cron at first base.
Expectations are so high for the superstar-laden Padres, who made a stirring run to the NL Championship Series last year, that some in the sellout crowd of 45,103 booed when left fielder Juan Soto let Bryant’s fly ball fall in for an RBI single in the sixth. There were more boos when Cron and Montero went back-to-back in the seventh.
Germán Márquez (1-0) held San Diego to two runs and five hits in six innings.
“I think you always try to quiet the crowd, especially early in the game,” said Rockies manager Bud Black, a former Padres skipper who still lives in the area in the offseason. “I think that was big that we scored in the first inning. I mean, they came right back. The starting pitcher sets the tone for that, and if you score some runs, it keeps the momentum on your side and the crowd out of it.
“They tried a couple times to rally but our pitchers snuffed it,” Black added. “But it’s a good crowd here.”
Márquez said the atmosphere “was super exciting, but I told myself, like, ‘You have to calm down.’”
As for pitching to a lineup with three superstars in a row, he said: “Believe me, it’s not easy. I’m going to do my best to make good pitches and tonight was great.”
Xander Bogaerts, who signed a $280 million, 11-year free agent deal in December, went 3 for 4 with two doubles in his Padres debut. Manny Machado, who finished second in NL MVP voting last year, had a sacrifice fly and a single. Soto, acquired last year at the trade deadline from Washington, went 0 for 4.
The Padres’ fourth superstar, Fernando Tatis Jr., is eligible to be activated on April 20 after finishing an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
Blake Snell (0-1), making his second career opening-day start, struck out nine through four innings before allowing singles to Yonathan Daza and Blackmon and leaving with a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Nabil Crismatt relieved and gave up Cron’s shot to left field.
Crismatt “throws a ton of changeups,” said Cron, who also hit an RBI single in the first. “It’s a really good one and he kind of leans on it. I didn’t expect four in a row or however many it was. I knew he was going to give me quite a few of them. It’s tough against him because it’s so good, but I finally got one I could hit.”
The Padres decided Wednesday night to push back the scheduled start time 5 1/2 hours due to the threat of rain. There was a downpour about two hours before first pitch. It was raining in the first inning and there was a slight delay before the top of the second while the grounds crew worked on the field.
Rockies: Placed closer Daniel Bard on the 10-day injured list due to anxiety and called up RHP Jake Bird. Bard said he has had anxiety both on and off the field.
Jake Peavy, the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner with the Padres, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove, who’s on the IL with a broken left big toe. Peavy was one of Musgrove’s favorite players while growing up in suburban El Cajon and wears Peavy’s No. 44. Peavy will be inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame in July. … Tennis great Rod Laver, the last man to win the calendar-year Grand Slam, and former basketball star Ralph Sampson watched from Padres owner Peter Seidler’s luxury suite.
Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland is scheduled to start Friday night against RHP Nick Martinez in the second game of the four-game series. Freeland was 9-11 with a 4.53 ERA last year while Martinez, who’s moving into the rotation, was 4-4 with a 3.47 ERA in a hybrid role.