Darvish Throws a Gem, But Wild Bullpen Falls Apart in 9th as Padres Drop Opener 4-2

National League MLB Baseball
Bob Melvin greets Diamondback manager Torey Lovullo as they marked Opening Day. Photo credit:@Padres via Twitter

Yu Darvish made a splash to start the season Thursday, pitching six innings of no-hit ball, but the Arizona Diamondbacks scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to spoil new manager Bob Melvin’s debut.

The Padres lost 4-2 after holding on to a 2-0 lead since the fourth inning. But in the ninth a wild Robert Suarez, in his major-league debut, loaded the bases, walking two, hitting a batter, and registering no outs.

Craig Stammen replaced him, but followed with a wild pitch that scored Christian Walker. On the next pitch, DH Seth Beer walloped a three-run homer, securing the walk-off win for the Diamondbacks.

Earlier, Arizona’s wildness had paid off for the Padres.

Darvish gave way after the sixth inning. He had struck out three and walked four, but fortunately for the Padres the Diamondbacks issued more, six. That tally included four walks in the third inning by Arizona starter Madison Bumgarner that resulted in the Friars’ first run of the season.

They also put up a run in the fourth as Austin Nola singled to drive in Ha-Seong Kim, who scored for the second time.

After Darvish’s departure, Arizona quickly ended their hit drought, knocking two off reliever Tim Hill. But Pierce Johnson entered the game and restored order before the chaotic ninth.

Melvin told Bally Sports San Diego after the game that he didn’t “know how much better Darvish could do.” As far as the game’s end, he said his team “got to the ninth and it just didn’t work out.”

Meanwhile, Kim played shortstop in place of the injured Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luke Voit made his Padre debut as the DH, walking twice and driving in a run.

The Padres also finalized their roster in the hours before the game, opting to begin the season by bringing up top prospect CJ Abrams. Abrams, 21, played himself into the big-league picture this spring, finishing with a .324 average.

They waved goodbye though to starter Chris Paddack and reliever Emilio Pagán as the team completed a trade early Thursday with the Minnesota Twins.

In return, the Padres get reliever Taylor Rogers and outfielder Brent Rooker.

Paddack spent three years with the Padres, but fell short of the promise he showed in his rookie campaign in 2019. Pagán came to the Padres in the 2020 trade for Manuel Margot.

The Padres send newcomer Sean Manaea to the mound Friday to face Merrill Kelly in a 6:40 p.m. start.

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