Rockies Padres Baseball

San Diego Padres' Brandon Drury rounds second base after hitting a grand slam against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

SAN DIEGO — Petco Park was packed an hour before first pitch Wednesday.

San Diego already had a lineup that included Manny Machado, Jake Cronenworth and, when he's healthy, Fernando Tatís Jr. Now, the Padres have Juan Soto, Josh Bell and Brandon Drury, all acquired via trades Tuesday. Suddenly, a random August night was a must-attend event. 

The Padres were a good team before the adds, but they turned themselves into a World Series contender overnight. And the Rockies, who were the only team in MLB not to make a move at the trade deadline Tuesday, were lucky enough to be the first to face them. 

"Am I worried? No," manager Bud Black said before the game. 

Maybe he should have been. 

The Padres kicked off their new era with a resounding 9-1 victory over the Rockies. The contrast between the teams couldn't have been clearer. 

Padres fans started chanting Soto's name during warm-ups. They screeched during lineup introductions and saluted him as he took his place in right field for the first time. They gave him a standing ovation when he walked in his first plate appearance, then got even louder when Machado hit a double. And Bell also walked to load the bases. 

Rockies starter Chad Kuhl was hanging on the ledge already at this point. Then he hit Cronenworth with a pitch to score one run, and Drury took the first pitch he saw as a Padre to left center for a grand slam. Petco Park, already bursting at its seams, exploded. Kuhl, all alone at the center of it, kicked the mound. His shoulders slumped, his eyes zeroed in on the ground, as he tried to regroup himself among the chaos surrounding him.

"Tonight, the environment, the energy in the ballpark was unlike any other game here in a long time," Black said. "Probably double important to set that great tone and keep us in the game early. It didn't happen for Chad."

Kuhl was successful for a few innings. But the Padres got to him again in the fourth, scoring another run to go ahead 6-1. The real dagger came in the fifth, when Machado and Cronenworth each hit home runs to end Kuhl's night. 

When asked if the atmosphere had anything to do with his poor performance, Kuhl was very quick to say that wasn't it. 

"It's just more of the same. Just poor execution, balls over the middle of the plate, not much deception in my delivery."

So now, Kuhl and the Rockies will have to piece together a way forward. That includes finding a way to fix Kuhl, who, in his own words, has been "terrible" over the past month. He has a 10.16 ERA in his past six starts. 

He has been over-rotating, spinning toward first base instead of landing straight toward home plate. He moved his hand positioning when he's breaking to try to let his arm catch up and moved himself to the center of the mound. 

Kuhl hasn't found success with the changes yet. Normally, these would be things that would be played with during spring training. But it's August, and Kuhl is now balancing fixing his mechanics while taking the mound every five days. 

"It needs to be done," Kuhl said. "It hits a certain point where something needs to change. Whether that's pitch selection or mechanics, you have to bite the bullet and make those tough changes because things obviously aren't going well."

Bryant seeing specialist 

Kris Bryant saw a podiatrist Wednesday in Denver to determine next steps. Bryant was placed on the injured list Monday for the third time this season with a bone bruise and plantar fasciitis. He's in a walking boot and getting regular treatment done on the foot to try to reduce the swelling and pain.

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