Padres slugger Soto belts two homers to defeat Tigers 5-4 in opener

Detroit News

Detroit — Once again, the Detroit Tigers’ offense provided too little, too late.

To be fair, on Friday night in Detroit, it was probably discouraged by a showing from world-class San Diego Padres slugger Juan Soto, who hit one of the longest home runs in Comerica Park history when he sent one 463 into the bushes in left center during the third inning of a 5-4 Padres win.

That home run, of course, was the encore to one he hit in the first inning that traveled a distance of 447 feet before crashing into the brick wall in right center, marking the 14th multi-home run game of the 24-year-old Soto’s career.

The Tigers (44-53) got off the mat entering the fifth. Zach McKinstry hit a solo home run, Javy Báez scored on a sacrifice fly in the sixth, and a two-run homer from Riley Greene in the seventh made it a 5-4 ballgame. But it was all the firepower Detroit could muster.

The Padres (47-51) got a strong inning appearances from Robert Suarez and Josh Hader in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to shut the door.

Right-handed starter Reese Olson went five innings, giving up seven hits, five earned runs, two walks and striking out five for the Tigers. Righty Seth Lugo went six innings for the Padres and gave up six hits, two earned runs.

The Padres had a 3-0 lead after the first inning and led 5-0 after the second, starting a long, slow night of frustration for the hometown fans, which haven’t seen their team since before the All-Star Break (July 9) and still found it necessary to boo them in the second inning after the Tigers failed to score a run with nobody out and the bases loaded.

After Soto’s home run in the first inning, with two men on, Matt Vierling tracked a ball all the way to the wall and appeared to have a chance at the catch as he collided with the fence, but the ball fell to the ground, allowing Jake Cronenworth to clear the bases with a triple and give the Padres a 3-0 lead.

Ha-Seong Kim tried adding more runs with a ball hit deep to left, but this time, left fielder Akil Baddoo came down with it to end the inning with some highway robbery.

Fernando Tatis singled to lead off the third before Soto hit his second moonshot of the day to make it 5-0. Olson walked Soto on four pitches when he saw him in the fifth inning. The longest home run of Soto’s career went 466 feet off of Mets pitcher Robert Gsellman in 2020. The longest home run in Comerica Park history was by former New York Yankees (and current Padres) catcher Gary Sanchez (493 feet) off Matthew Boyd in 2017.

McKinstry got Detroit on the board with a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the fifth. Baez hit a one-out triple to right center in the sixth inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Maton to make it 5-2.

Brendan White, Chasen Shreve, Tyler Holton and Beau Brieske each made scoreless relief appearances for Detroit, which slammed the door on San Diego’s offense over the final six innings.

The end of Lugo’s day further brought Detroit to life.

After Padres right-hander Nick Martinez entered the game, Jake Rogers led off the seventh with a single to set up Greene for a two-run homer that made the game 5-4 and opened the door for some late-inning heroics.

Alas, they never came. Andy Ibañez, Rogers and Miguel Cabrera — who was pinch-hitting for McKinstry — went down in order to end the game.

Twitter: @nolanbianchi

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