NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Paddack ran to the mound, eager to make this start. Already a rookie sensation, he savored the moment.
“As a kid, you tell yourself … bases loaded, two outs, bottom of the ninth inning, Yankee Stadium,” the San Diego newcomer said. “Here it is.”
A beautiful thought. The reality was a bit more jarring.
DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit jolted Paddack with instant home runs, James Paxton pitched four hitless innings in his return from the injured list and the New York Yankees beat the Padres 7-0 Wednesday.
Paddack began the day with a sparkling 1.93 ERA. But the Bronx Bombers quickly showed the 23-year-old why so many visiting pitchers detest Yankee Stadium — and he didn’t even get victimized by the short porch in right field.
LeMahieu led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run on an 0-2 pitch and Voit followed with an even longer drive to left. It was the 10th time in franchise history the Yankees began with back-to-back homers.
“The guy pretty much went from high Double-A to the show. I’m sure he’s never pitched in New York. So I’m sure he’s going to come out (pumped up). He wanted to prove that his first month and a half wasn’t anything that (fluky),” Voit said.
“It’s the big leagues, it’s hard to pitch here,” he said.
Gio Urshela also connected off Paddack, Gleyber Torres hit a late homer and Voit added his first big league triple as the Yankees won their eighth straight series.
“I think the guys were excited coming in today, an opportunity to face this guy that’s obviously kind of taken the league by storm,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Paddack slapped his right hand into his glove when he reached the dugout after the first inning. The Yankees kept making noise, too, when Urshela hit a solo shot in the second.
At that point, Paddack (4-3) had allowed three home runs on only 23 pitches. Scratched from his previous start because of a stiff neck, he was pulled after five innings trailing 4-0.
Paddack said he felt fine and blamed himself for poor pitch selection and execution.
“Beat myself today,” he said, adding, “I’ll learn from it.”
San Diego didn’t get a hit until the sixth when Wil Myers’ blooper bounced out of LeMahieu’s glove as he drifted out from second base.
Paxton was in complete control. Out for nearly a month because of inflammation in his left knee, he showed no ill effects while striking out seven and walking two in throwing 66 pitches.
“It was really good, seeing him back out there and just pitching so well. He picked up right where he left off,” Boone said.
This is Paxton’s first season with New York, and he previously mentioned he was having a little trouble with the home mound. Boone said groundskeepers were working on a “fairly subtle” change to the sticky clay on the landing slope when Paxton pitches, hoping to soften the surface to ease the twist and torque on the lefty’s knee.
“I just dug it out a little differently,” Paxton said.
Chad Green worked the fifth, Adam Ottavino gave up Myers’ hit, Jonathan Holder (4-2) went two innings and Nestor Cortes Jr. completed the four-hitter.
Voit hit a sinker liner that got past charging center fielder Manuel Margot in the seventh, and Torres homered one batter later off Adam Warren.
The previous time the Yankees opened with consecutive home runs was last July 7 at Toronto when Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge connected off current Yankees pitcher J.A. Happ.
NO PADDED STATS
In his 10th start since making his big league debut this year, Paddack gave season highs in hits (6), earned runs (4) and homers (3). Going in the game, he had allowed only 28 hits — four of them home runs — in 51 1/3 innings.
Yankees: The team hopes LHP CC Sabathia (right knee inflammation) can come off the injured list to start Sunday against the Red Sox. … C Gary Sanchez and OF Aaron Hicks got a regular day of rest.
Padres: After a day off, San Diego opens a 10-game homestand when LHP Joey Lucchesi (3-3, 4.25 ERA) takes on Miami. He struck out a career-high 11 at Toronto in his last start.
Yankees: LHP J.A. Happ (4-3, 5.09) faces Boston LHP Chris Sale (1-6, 4.19) to begin a four-game series at home. Happ is 8-4 vs. the Red Sox, and pitched into the seventh inning against them in mid-April.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports