Juan Soto hits 2 long home runs in the Padres' 5-4 victory over the Tigers
DETROIT (AP) — Juan Soto hit two long home runs and the San Diego Padres beat the Detroit Tigers 5-4 on Friday night.
Soto's home run in the first inning was estimated at 447 feet and his third-inning shot came in at 463 feet. He also drew his majors-leading 93rd walk.
“I hit both of those pretty good,” he said. “I'm going to the plate trying to control the at-bat. If I get my pitch, I want to hit it, but if I don't, I'll take the walk.”
Seth Lugo (4-4) allowed two runs on six hits in six innings. Three relievers finished, with Robert Suarez pitching a perfect eighth in his return from an elbow injury. Josh Hader pitched the ninth for his 24th save, ending the game with a strikeout of pinch-hitter Miguel Cabrera.
“Obviously, the intensity ramps up when you go from pitching rehab games to being in the eighth inning of a one-run game, and Robert looked really good,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “He and Josh were a pretty good combination for us last year, and they did that again tonight.”
Reese Olson (1-4) took the loss, allowing five runs on seven hits in five innings.
The Padres took the lead with three runs in the first. With two out, Soto homered off the brick wall above the shrubbery in right-centerfield, narrowly missing the names of Tigers Hall of Famers Heinie Manush and Harry Heilmann.
“He’s one of a kind,” Melvin said. “He’s going to take his walks if you don’t throw the ball over the plate, and if you do throw it over the plate, he’s got a chance to do that. It’s a pretty good combination.”
After Manny Machado walked and Xander Bogaerts beat out an infield single, Jake Cronenworth made it 3-0 with a triple off the fence in center.
San Diego nearly added another run in the second, but left fielder Akil Baddoo reached over the fence to rob Ha-Seong Kim of a homer.
The Tigers loaded the bases with no one out in the second, but Lugo struck out Baddoo and Jake Rogers before retiring Zack McKinstry to end the inning.
“When you have the bases loaded with no one out, you know the hitters are going to get really aggressive,” Lugo said. “I was just trying to be even more aggressive than that. I knew they had to respect my curveball up, so the fastball down was big there.”
Soto made it 5-0 in the third, clearing the second row of shrubs in center.
“I'm glad I don't have to pitch to him,” Lugo said.
Zach McKinstry homered in the fifth and Javier Báez made it 5-2 when he tripled and scored in the sixth.
Riley Greene's two-run homer off Jake Martinez cut it 5-4 in the seventh, but the Tigers didn't get another baserunner.
NOT THE BIGGEST
Padres catcher Gary Sánchez has the longest home run in Comerica Park's 24 seasons, a 493-foot blast for the New York Yankees on Aug. 22, 2017.
San Diego LHP Jackson Wolf is expected to make his major league debut Saturday against Detroit RHP Matt Manning (3-1, 3.38).