MEXICO CITY – By the time Manny Machado put San Diego ahead for good, hitting home runs in Mexico City’s thin air was old hat.
Machado overcame a seventh-inning deficit with his second homer, the 11th of the night, and the Padres outslugged the San Francisco Giants 16-11 Saturday in Major League Baseball’s first regular-season game in the Mexican capital.
Nelson Cruz, Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis and Xander Bogaerts also went deep for the Padres, who outhomered the Giants 6-5 and outhit them 17-13 in the thin air of Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú.
After each home run, the Padres topped the triumphant hitter with a mariachi sombrero in the dugout. Machado said Tatis bought the green, red, white and black hat Friday night at the team hotel and the group weighed using it to celebrate or a mask wrestler Rey Mysterio gave to Machado.
“If we can keep hitting like that, maybe we´ll bring the mask and the sombrero to San Diego,” Machado said. "We are going to use them tomorrow for sure”.
A crowd of 19,611 filled the ballpark, which opened in 2019, for a game that stretched to 3 hours, 44 minutes. At 7,349 feet above sea level, this two-game series is the highest elevation for big league games. MLB’s previous regular-season trips to Mexico were for games in Monterrey in 2016, ‘18 and ’19.
“For moments it felt like more than just a game, it felt more like a parade,” Padres manager, Bob Melvin said of the electric atmosphere.
San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford and Lamonte Wade Jr. hit consecutive homers in the fourth off Joe Musgrove, with Crawford's going 482 feet and Wade's 474.
Mitch Haniger went deep against Musgrove in the fifth with his first home run for San Francisco, and the Giants went ahead 11-10 with consecutive longballs in the seventh against Steven Wilson. Blake Sabol hit a two-run homer and David Villar connected five pitches later.
That lead didn’t last long against the Padres, who were the home team and scored in seven of eight innings in which they batted.
Tatis doubled off Tyler Rogers (0-1) and Machado hit his fourth home run of the season. The Padres tacked on four more runs in the eighth, when Trent Grisham hit a two-run double against Scott Alexander and Cruz a two-run single off John Brebbia.
Cruz went 5 for 6 with four RBIs and became the oldest player to homer for the Padres when he went deep leading off the third inning against Sean Manaea. Cruz was 42 years, 302 days, surpassing Rickey Henderson at 42 years, 283 days on Oct. 4, 2001.
“I´m just happy to be out there helping the team win. I´m not interested so much on the records”, Cruz said.
Soto and Bogaerts homered on consecutive pitches from Jakob Junis in the fourth, among four sets of back-to-back homers. Tatis and Machado went deep in a three-pitch span against Junis in the fifth.
Bogaerts became the first player to homer in regular-season games in four countries, adding to his previous drives in the U.S., Canada and England.
Tom Cogrove (1-0), a 26-year-old left-hander who played at Manhattan College, won in his major league debut in the seventh for the Padres. He relieved in the seventh with a runner at third and retired Joc Pederson on a groundout.
Thairo Estrada had four hits, and Estrada and Haniger each drove in three runs.
San Francisco wore black jerseys with “Los Gigantes” across the chest while San Diego was in its Nike City Connect uniforms of pink, gold and green on white.
The Giants trailed 3-0 and 5-2, went ahead 8-5 with a six-run fourth and fell behind 9-8 in the fifth. After holding the Padres scoreless for the only time in the sixth inning, the Giants took an 11-10 lead in the seventh.
Manaea allowed five runs and five hits in just two innings, and Musgrove gave up seven runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings.
ENJOYING THE TRIP
Camilo Doval, Sean Hjelle, John Brevia, Tristan Beck, Ricardo Genovés, Brett Wisely, Mike Yaztrzemski, Haniger and Junis did not waste an opportunity to be in Mexico City and ventured to go the Arena Mexico to watch the famous “Lucha Libre.” Players got a chance to meet some of the wrestlers and took photos with them wearing masks.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler got lost Friday trying to get from the team hotel to the ballpark when he used public transportation. He took a team bus Saturday but said on Friday night he tried to take the subway to a concert by the Spanish singer Rosalia. He could not get there.
“The station close to the hotel was jammed packed and then the trains were full and people that were savvy enough could push through" Kapler said. “I did not feel confident doing that, so I went upstairs to try to get an Uber and could not get one, so I went to another taco place and got a beer, I was not disappointed.”
San Diego's jerseys were predominantly white with a pink right sleeve, a green one on the left and pink numbers on the back and front. The team said that they were inspired by the landscape of San Diego and Baja California.
Padres: IF/OF Brandon Dion was recalled from Triple-A El Paso as the team´s 27th man for the series.
Giants: IF/OF Brett Wisely was added to the roster as the 27th player for the Mexico series. Wisely, in 12 Triple-A games, is batting .304 with eight RBIs. … Crawford left in the middle of the the fourth inning with right calf tightness.
RHP Yu Darvish (1-2, 3.00 ERA) is set to start Sunday for the Padres and RHP Alex Cobb (1-1, 1.91) for the Giants.