MLB: Dylan Cease, Padres out to pull plug on Yankees’ power

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The New York Yankees’ first road game against the San Diego Padres since 2016 went the way most of their games have this season: very well.

In an 8-0 series-opening win, New York flashed its power, sending four balls over the fence at pitcher-friendly Petco Park. The Yankees lead the major leagues with 79 home runs.

New York will shoot for a series win Saturday night in the middle contest of a three-game interleague series. The Yankees have won 10 times in the past 12 games.

The victory served as a successful homecoming for Juan Soto, who played 214 games for the Padres after he was acquired at the trade deadline in 2022. Fans booed Soto loudly but he quieted them with a long two-run homer during a five-run third inning.

Soto didn’t have anything negative to say about Padres fans, who are among baseball’s most fervent.

“It’s kind of tough for me because (the fans) were there every day for me,” he said. “I know I tried my best. I played hard every game. But I didn’t play at my best, you know? And that’s one of the things I was kind of sad about, because I couldn’t show them how great I can be.”

Still, with the Padres, Soto hit .265 with 41 homers and 125 RBIs and won his fourth Silver Slugger award. The Padres traded him to the Yankees in the offseason, with his free agency pending after the 2024 campaign.

This season, Soto is hitting .315 with 14 homers and 43 RBIs, establishing himself as an early American League Most Valuable Player candidate. He’s helped the Yankees get off to a 36-17 start and a three-game lead on the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East.

Marcus Stroman (3-2, 3.05 ERA) will take the ball Saturday night. He breezed through 7 1/3 innings Monday night against the Seattle Mariners, allowing just three hits and a run with one walk and six strikeouts. Stroman was in line for a win before the Mariners scored four runs in the ninth inning for a 5-4 victory.

In five career starts against the Padres, Stroman is 4-0 with a 1.76 earned run average, allowing 26 hits in 30 2/3 innings and striking out 30.

San Diego will try to even the series behind Dylan Cease (5-3, 3.05), coming off perhaps the worst start of the season Monday against the Atlanta Braves. He gave up nine hits and five runs in four innings, walking three and striking out five, but was bailed out when the Padres rallied from a 5-0 deficit for a 6-5 victory.

Cease has struggled in four career starts against New York, going 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA. He’s permitted 29 baserunners in 18 2/3 innings, essentially canceling out 29 strikeouts.

Friday night’s result continued a weird trend for the Padres. They are 17-10 away from Petco Park and the reverse at home at 10-17. The loss to the Yankees was the fourth straight for the Padres, who have been outscored a combined 27-7 in those games.

That includes a three-game sweep by the Colorado Rockies, who have the worst record in the National League entering play Saturday.

Right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. wasn’t hearing any talk of bad vibes on their home field.

“I think it’s too early for that,” Tatis said. “We’ll figure it out.”

–Field Level Media

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