SAN DIEGO (AP) — Fernando Tatis Jr. had three hits, scored once and fired up the crowd in his return to Petco Park, and Ha-Seong Kim hit a tiebreaking three-run homer as the San Diego Padres beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-3 on Monday night for their third straight win.
The crowd was already in a festive mood for Tatis' first home game since Sept. 26, 2021, when Kim sent fans into a frenzy when he homered to left field off Alex Young with two outs in the fifth inning for a 6-3 lead.
After Kim scored, Tatis placed a sombrero on his head, a reprise of the celebrations the Padres started when they hit six home runs in a 16-11 win against San Francisco on Saturday in the thin air of Mexico City. Tatis bought the sombrero at the team hotel Friday night before the two-game series, which the Padres swept.
Juan Soto and Manny Machado each had a two-run hit and Trent Grisham also had three hits for the Padres. Blake Snell (1-4) pitched around trouble for six innings.
Tatis drew loud cheers several times Monday night, including when he sprinted onto the field for pregame warmups. At the start of the game, he ran out to his position in right field, bowed to the fans and took off his cap and whipped his dreadlocks back and forth before replacing his cap.
“It feels great, amazing, just to be out there, back with the fans, performing well in front of them. It was just great to be back,” Tatis said.
The superstar said his gesture toward the crowd “was just energetic. I really respect my fans. I'm just happy to be back out there and just having a great time overall.”
Tatis was cheered again when he was announced as the leadoff hitter and beat out an infield single to deep shortstop to extend his hitting streak to nine games. He scored on Soto's two-run double that also brought in Machado.
“I definitely was nervous,” Tatis said. “I feel like after the first swing everything came down and it was like, ‘OK, now we go.’”
The electrifying Tatis, an All-Star at shortstop in 2021, missed all of last season. He was on the cusp of returning from a broken left wrist — reportedly suffered in a motorcycle accident in his native Dominican Republic — when he was suspended 80 games on Aug. 12 after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He blamed his positive test on a cream he said he used for ringworm.
Tatis was activated on April 20, when the Padres started a nine-game road trip.
“I think he handles everything great,” manager Bob Melvin said. “They love him so much here, and just going out to right field to start the game, a little showmanship. He's a real entertainer. This is a big night for him to come out and get that kind of reception."
Melvin watched Tatis in right field before the game started.
“That was kind of a big deal,” Melvin said. “He's one of those guys who understands the moment and is excitable and just loves playing baseball and it kind of oozes out of him. I think our fans obviously understand that.”
While enjoying his big moment, Kim also enjoyed the boost from having Tatis back.
“He's a tremendous player and we're so happy to have him back,” Kim said through an interpreter. “Obviously, the fans love him and he loves fans and he brings so much to our clubhouse. We're looking forward to playing with him.”
The Reds tied it on Stuart Fairchild's two-run double in the third and went ahead 3-2 on Nick Senzel's homer in the fourth, his third.
The Padres tied it in the bottom of the inning on Grisham's RBI double. Tatis came up with runners at the corners and no outs and flied out to right. Machado then hit into a double play.
Tatis made a nice running catch of Henry Ramos' fly ball in right-center to end the eighth.
Snell allowed three runs on eight hits while striking out seven and walking none. Domingo Tapia earned his first save.
Reds starter Luke Weaver (1-1) permitted four runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings.