SAN DIEGO (AP) — Playing an entertaining home opener in front of an enthusiastic sellout crowd, the San Diego Padres looked nothing like a team deep in rebuilding mode.
Rookie Manuel Margot hit his first two big league homers and Yangervis Solarte had a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning, helping the Padres beat the San Francisco Giants 7-6 Friday.
With most of the 43,411 on hand standing and cheering, Brandon Maurer threw a perfect ninth for his first save.
“It was electric,” Maurer said. “It was nice. I was shaking a little bit there. After the second out. I had to regroup there for a second, lock it in.”
With a focus on rookies and a talented farm system, the Padres don’t expect to be competitive for a few seasons.
At the very least, they could be fun to watch.
“Just roll with what we’ve got in here,” Maurer said. “Keep that mindset going.”
Solarte’s double to the gap in right-center restored the Padres lead after the Giants had gone up 5-4 on Brandon Belt’s first career grand slam with no outs in the sixth. Solarte had three hits and four RBIs.
San Francisco’s bullpen troubles continued when George Kontos (0-1) walked Travis Jankowski opening the seventh and allowed a single to Wil Myers before Solarte doubled them in. Solarte advanced on a fly out and scored on Austin Hedges’ sacrifice bunt to make it 7-5.
That run came in handy because Belt homered again, off Ryan Buchter, to straightaway center with two outs in the eighth.
Margot, called up late last season, became the first rookie to hit two homers in a Padres home opener. He had only two home runs in five minor league seasons.
Margot homered to left-center leading off the first and to left leading off the third, both off Matt Cain.
“It’s something you think about, but you never really think it’s going to happen,” Margot said. “I was able to execute. It was great.”
Margot is 5-foot-11 and 174 pounds, so his power is deceptive.
“The more you play the more you learn,” he said. “There are people who may not necessarily have power that you might see but who make good contact and hit the ball well. The more you do it, it can be something that comes out.”
Jose Torres (1-0) pitched a perfect seventh for his first big league win.
With no outs in the sixth, Belt hit an 84-mph slider from Luis Perdomo to right-center. Perdomo had loaded the bases on a leadoff single by Conor Gillaspie, who was pinch-hitting for Cain, a double by Joe Panik and a walk to Aaron Hill.
The Giants lost for the fourth time in five games.
“We did a heck of a job coming back and this is what makes it a little difficult, I guess, when you do some great things that happen during the game,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Belt’s grand slam to give us the lead ... a lot of good things happen, but we are just having a hiccup somewhere along the line and that is what is costing us these games.”
Giants: RHP Hunter Strickland was placed on the paternity list. His wife Shelley is due to give birth to a daughter, Kinsey Rae, this weekend. ... LHP Steven Okert was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento.
Padres: C Hector Sanchez was placed on the seven-day disabled list with concussion symptoms after getting hit in the mask with a foul tip at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. ... The Padres selected the contract of OF Jabari Blash, who hit seven homers during spring training, and transferred OF Alex Dickerson to the 60-day disabled list.
Padres manager Andy Green’s wife, Jessie, and their three daughters passed out cookies in the press box before the game and wished media members happy opening day. “I heard they were buttering you up with some cookies, huh?” Andy Green said. “Well played. Not even my idea. Well played.”
Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-0, 3.86) didn’t get a decision in the season opener at Arizona, but he became the first pitcher ever to hit two homers in his team’s first game.
Padres: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (0-1, 24.30) looks for a better result than opening day, when he allowed a career-high nine runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings in a 14-3 loss at Dodger Stadium.