Austin Hedges makes first start, Padres win 9-1 over Giants

Austin Hedges single cropped

Catcher Austin Hedges made his first Major League start in Wednesday’s 9-1 win over the Giants in San Francisco.

It was a memorable one.

The Padres’ top prospect, whose biggest knock has been his hitting, went 1-4 with two RBIs, including a laser-throw to first base in the bottom of the third inning to pick off Nori Aoki after he rounded first base too far on a RBI single.

After striking out in his first career at-bat Monday night against none other than World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner,  Hedges grounded out his first at-bat Wednesday, but capped off a five-run third inning for the Padres with a RBI single up the middle, the sixth hit of the inning for San Diego.

“I was probably pressing a little bit more at the plate than behind the plate so to get that first knock and to make it be an RBI in that situation was huge and a lot of fun,” Hedges told Fox Sports San Diego’s Kris Budden after the game.

With the Padres leading 8-1 in the top of the eighth, Hedges earned his second career RBI on a sac-fly to centerfield that scored Jedd Gyorko.

“I thought he handled himself great,” manager Bud Black said. “I had a good sense for today, early this morning, when Austin was in the clubhouse, he had a good look in the eye. He did a great job with Ian. It was a great debut in a starting role.”

As expected, Hedges was strong defensively behind the plate. He and starting pitcher Ian Kennedy made for a formidable battery. Kennedy went seven innings, allowing six hits, and one earned run with five strikeouts.

He rarely shook Hedges off.

“Working with Ian made it a lot easier,” Hedges told Budden. “He and I were on the same page all day and he allowed me to feel relaxed and confident to go out there and do what I think I can do so that’s a testament to him and the kind of guy he is.”

 

–Andrew Burer (TWITTER: @andrewburer)

Here is Hedges back in February at the start of Spring Training. He was asked about how he’s dealt with the pressure of being a top prospect.

 

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