MIAMI (AP) -- With four hits and two RBI on Wednesday, Adrian Gonzalez delivered the kind of performance the Florida Marlins envisioned when they made him the first pick in the 2000 draft.
Alas for Florida, he now plays with the San Diego Padres.Traded by the Marlins in 2003, Gonzalez had his first four-hit game to help San Diego beat struggling Florida 7-2."I don't care who the opponent is," he said. "I just wanted to get to the big leagues and get an opportunity to play."Gonzalez was acquired from Texas in an offseason trade and is starting at first base in place of Ryan Klesko, who underwent shoulder surgery Monday and is expected to be sidelined two to four months."Adrian has an opportunity, and he's taking full advantage of it," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're excited to have him, and he's excited to have that opportunity. He looks like a man on a mission."Chris Young (1-0) shut out Florida on one hit over six innings, and two relievers completed a six-hitter. Vinny Castilla hit a two-run homer for the defending NL West champion Padres, who won their second game in a row after losing four straight.Miguel Cabrera hit his second homer of the season for the Marlins, who lost their fifth game in a row and are off to a 1-6 start."The first seven games are obviously not what we want," manager Joe Girardi said. "Could have been better; could have been worse. ... I think guys are trying to do too much. They're so anxious to get off to a good start and prove they belong here."Florida has the youngest team and lowest payroll in the major leagues -- which means the 23-year-old Gonzalez would fit right in. But the Marlins traded him midway through their World Series championship season in 2003 to the Rangers to acquire closer Ugueth Urbina."He has a ton of talent," said Marlins outfielder Chris Aguila, who roomed with Gonzalez in the minors. "He has always put up numbers in the minor leagues. And he's a great cook -- great Mexican food."Gonzalez had a chance to go 5-for-5 but struck out in the ninth, dropping his average to .393. He began the season with 192 career at-bats and may quickly double that total with Klesko out."I want the opportunity to play every day and know you'll be in the lineup whether you go 0-for-4 or have a day like I did today," he said. "It's easier on yourself when you know that regardless of what you do, you'll be in the lineup in the same place. It gives you confidence and lets your ability take over."Thanks in part to Gonzalez, Young left with a 7-0 lead after throwing 101 pitches, mostly fastballs. The only hit off him was a high hopper down the third-base line by Hanley Ramirez that rolled into the outfield for a double. Castilla had a shot at a backhanded play but failed to come up with the ball.The Marlins had two walks and two stolen bases in the second inning, but Young escaped without giving up a run. He struck out six and walked three."My fastball command has been better and better," Young said. "Early in spring training, I didn't know where the ball was going. Now I'm able to put it where I want to with some life, too."Once Young left the game, Florida needed only two batters to score an unearned run. Dan Uggla singled off Brian Sweeney, took second when left fielder Terrmel Sledge misplayed the ball for an error and then came home on Aguila's single.The afternoon game drew a crowd of 8,994, down from 31,308 for the home opener Tuesday. Fans endured another afternoon of poor pitching, with Brian Moehler (0-2) allowing six runs, five earned, in 5 1/3 innings. That reduced his ERA to 13.50, but the young staff's ERA rose to 5.31."We're going to make mistakes. That's just the way it is," Moehler said. "Hopefully you learn from those mistakes and don't make them as frequently as the year goes on."
Marlins right fielder Jeremy Hermida sat out with a tight right hip flexor, and his status is day-to-day. ... Marlins center fielder Eric Reed made a running catch on the warning track to rob Sledge of a hit. ... The Padres made errors in three consecutive innings after committing one in their first six games.