SAN DIEGO (AP)Blake Snell walked off the mound to a nice ovation maybe a little earlier than he had hoped in his San Diego debut, knowing there are things to work on but overall happy with his effort.
The left-hander struck out eight before being pulled after 86 pitches through 4 2/3 scoreless innings, and Eric Hosmer homered and drove in three runs for the second straight game as the Padres beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 on Friday night.
Snell worked out of some jams and held Arizona to four hits and two walks but wasn’t eligible for the win because he didn’t pitch five innings. San Diego manager Jayce Tingler lifted the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner after he got the second out of the fourth, with Ketel Marte aboard on a double and the Padres leading 3-0.
Snell, obtained from Tampa Bay on Dec. 29, said 86 pitches should have gotten him through the sixth.
”I’ve got to make better pitches and be a better starting pitcher and not put so many innings on the bullpen like I did.
”It’s the first game, I get that. But again, with how I felt and the stuff that I had today, I’ve got to be better. I’m going to watch it and I’ll learn, I’ll grow.”
Craig Stammen came on and retired Eduardo Escobar on two pitches. Snell had struck out Escobar twice.
Emilio Pagan (2-0) worked an inning for the win and Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his second save in two games. He got Marte to ground out with a runner on second to end it.
It was Snell’s first start since Game 6 of the World Series. Rays manager Kevin Cash yanked Snell with a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who rallied to win the game and the 2020 championship.
Snell was acquired by the Padres in a five-player trade with Tampa Bay, the same day San Diego acquired Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs.
Tingler said the decision to pull Snell was ”100% pitch count. … We’re trying to be disciplined early. There’s a time to let him go. I kind of had it in my mind tonight 85 pitches or so, right there.”
Snell said he needs to be more aggressive in the strike zone and not fall behind batters.
”I’m not here to throw nine innings in the first game,” Snell said. ”No one remembers your first couple months of a season, they remember how you finish and what you do in the postseason. That’s what matters. Right now you build a base, you build a structure, you build something that you can grow and build on and then when you get deeper into the season, that’s when you start to let the horses go. For now, just take it easy, relax, we’re going to build this the right way and then we’ll start to get some innings and some depth and we can have some fun.”
Hosmer also had three hits for the second consecutive game and factored in all four runs. He hit a two-run homer off Merrill Kelly (0-1) in the third to give the Padres a 3-0 lead. Manny Machado was aboard on a one-out walk. The homer came right after Fernando Tatis Jr. was thrown out trying to steal third.
Hosmer went deep in San Diego’s 8-7 opening day win on Thursday.
After Marte hit a two-run homer off Stammen in the seventh to pull the Diamondbacks to 3-2, Hosmer punched an opposite-field RBI single to left for a two-run cushion. Hosmer singled leading off the second and scored on Jurickson Profar’s sacrifice fly.
Marte had four hits in Thursday’s loss, including one of four Diamondbacks homers in a six-run fifth.
Kelly allowed three runs and five hits in four innings, struck out four and walked three.
Diamondbacks: RHP Taylor Clarke took a hard liner by Tatis off his shin in the seventh. Clarke recovered to throw out Tatis and finished the inning.
The Padres’ 13 players on the injured list is believed to be a record for a season’s start, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Elias has opening day rosters dating to 1987 and 13 is the most for any team over that span. It says it is highly unlikely that it happened prior to 1987 since there were limits to the numbers of players who could be put on the IL. The list includes RHP Mike Clevinger, who is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in mid-November.
Diamondbacks: LHP Caleb Smith (0-0, 2.57 ERA in 2020 with Marlins and Diamondbacks) is scheduled to start Saturday night. He’s 2-1 with a 2.01 ERA in four career starts against San Diego.
Padres: RHP Joe Musgrove (1-5, 3.86 with Pittsburgh) will make his debut with his hometown team. He was obtained from the Pirates on Jan. 19. Musgrove attended Grossmont High in suburban El Cajon before being selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round of the 2011 amateur draft. He wears No. 44 in honor of his favorite Padres pitcher, Jake Peavy.
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