SAN DIEGO (AP) — Ji-Man Choi says being with the Milwaukee Brewers reminds him of a fun day at an amusement park.
The Brewers enjoyed a wild ride on opening day, beating the San Diego Padres 2-1 in 12 innings on Thursday.
Reliever Jeremy Jeffress emphatically pumped his fists several times after getting Chase Headley to hit into a bases-loaded double play in the 11th, and then Orlando Arcia singled in Choi with two outs in the 12th inning.
“We’re locked. We’re ready to go,” a still-excited Jeffress said afterward. “We have players here who can help us out in huge ways. We’re staying locked, staying prepared.”
Arcia’s hit came off sidearmer Adam Cimber (0-1), who was making his big league debut. After getting Manny Pina to hit into a double play, Cimber allowed Choi’s pinch-hit double before Arcia’s go-ahead RBI.
Choi was the only non-roster invitee to make the team out of spring training. His stay might be short because the Brewers need to add newly signed Dan Jennings to the 25-man roster.
Choi said through a translator that bench coach Pat Murphy gave him a pep talk before the game.
“That uplifted me and gave me the confidence, and even when I came in to pinch-hit I had that confidence to do well,” he said.
The game’s biggest moment may have been when Jeffress got Headley to ground into a 5-2-3 double play on a splitter to the end the 11th.
“Oh man, I was so pumped. Just excited, man,” Jeffress said. “That’s the drive and the confidence we need out of everybody, especially in the pen. Just get that confidence, man, knowing that nobody can beat us.”
Jeffress (1-0) pitched two innings for the win. Jacob Barnes struck out the side in the 12th for the save.
The Brewers were one out away from winning 1-0 on a four-hitter when Freddy Galvis, acquired in a trade with Philadelphia, singled to right off Corey Knebel, a first-time All-Star last year, to bring in Carlos Asuaje and send it into extra innings. Asuaje singled with one out and stole second with two outs.
Milwaukee’s Chase Anderson allowed one hit in six innings in his first opening day start. He had six strikeouts and three walks.
The right-hander also singled to center off Clayton Richard with two outs in the third, advanced on Lorenzo Cain’s single to left and scored on Christian Yelich’s single to left. A late, awkward slide left the pitcher shaken up momentarily, but he stayed in the game.
Richard, making his first opening day start at age 34, went seven innings, allowing one run and six hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
“Chase pitched well,” said Padres manager Andy Green, who dropped to 0-3 on opening day. “There was no consistent pattern to come to and he kept you honest enough inside so you couldn’t hang out over the plate, so you’ve got to tip your hat a little bit but we’ll have much better at-bats than that going forward.”
Richard “was outstanding,” Green said. “You trust the man, that’s why you give him the ball on the first day of the season. His sinker was very good today. I don’t think he had it like that in spring training.”
The Padres flashed some nice defense. Galvis, San Diego’s fifth different starting shortstop in five opening days, made a terrific play in the second when he fielded Pina’s hard one-hopper as he went to the ground and flipped the ball to second baseman Asuaje to start an inning-ending double play. Headley, the third baseman, made a nice play on Ryan Braun’s hard grounder to start an inning-ending double play in the first.
Padres newcomer Eric Hosmer, signed to a $144 million, eight-year contract early in spring training, went 0 for 4 with a walk and two strikeouts in his Padres debut.
“We’ll get some bubble wrap for the guy,” Jeffress said about Anderson’s slide.
Trevor Hoffman, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July, threw the ceremonial first pitch to his older brother, Glenn, the Padres’ third base coach. Trevor Hoffman played the bulk of his career with the Padres before playing two seasons with Milwaukee.
Before the national anthem, the Padres held a moment of silence for three former members of the organization who died in recent months: Kevin Towers, Dick Enberg and Rob Picciolo. Towers was general manager for 14 years, building four division winners, including the 1998 team that went to the World Series. Enberg finished his long Hall of Fame career with seven seasons as the Padres TV voice. Picciolo was a longtime coach.
LHP Joey Lucchesi is scheduled to make his big league debut for the Padres on Friday night after recording a 1.54 ERA in four spring starts. The Brewers will counter with RHP Jhoulys Chacin, who went 13-10 with a 3.89 ERA with San Diego last season.