On a night of Padres milestones, Jankowski held the trump card

CF has 2 hits in M.L. debut and Padres 500th win at Petco Park

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Friday was a night of Padres milestones.

-- The Padres' 9-3 win over the Cardinals was also the Padres 500th at Petco Park. They are 500-450 at home since the downtown ballpark opened in 2004.

-- The win was also the Padres 80th straight victory when leading after eight innings. The streak, dating back to July 7 of last season, is the longest in the National League. The Padres are 49-0 when leading after the eighth inning this season.

-- Justin Upton singled homed Yonder Alonso in the bottom of the fifth for the 600th RBI of his career. He is one of seven active Major League players to reach the 600-RBI mark before his 28th birthday.

But the night's biggest milestone was that of the Major League debut of 24-year-old center fielder Travis Jankowski.

Jankowski, who batted ninth in the order in his debut, singled in each of his first two at-bats and was robbed of an extra-base hit in his third at-bat by a diving catch by Cardinals' left fielder Stephen Piscotty.

I have to admit, I'm a sucker for Major League debuts. I thoroughly enjoyed the night of Aug. 11 when right-hander Colin Rea won his first Major League start, then celebrated down the first-base line with what seemed to be the entire population of Cascade, Iowa.

Friday night was no different. I was caught up in seeing Jankowski - who could very well be the Padres center fielder and lead-off hitter of the future if he gets on base, which he did in his first two at-bats Friday night.

Jankowski became only the third player in franchise history - joining John Sipin in 1969 and Wiki Gonzalez in 1999 - to get hits in his first two plate appearances of his first Major League game. He is the 32nd player in franchise history - and the first Padre since Rea to - to get a hit in his first Major League plate appearance and the ninth to have two-plus hits in his Major League debut.

Finally, Jankowski is the fourth player in Padres history to have two or more hits plus a RBI in his Major League debut. One of the previous three: Tony Gwynn on July 19, 1982.

"It was everything I dreamed it would be and more," said Jankowski. "I don't know the words to describe it."

When he lined out to left in the sixth - Piscotty also robbing him of a second RBI - Jankowski returned to the dugout to a standing ovation.

Jankowski called Piscotty's catch a "welcome to the big leagues" moment. "The ovation game me some chills," said Jankowski. "The night is still surreal."

"It's great to see the young guys come up and fit in," said Padres manager Pat Murphy. "Travis was really nervous at first, but he got his breathing under control."


-- The lone run allowed by Andrew Cashner Friday night was unearned. It was the 22nd unearned run charged to Cashner this season. That is the highest total in the Major Leagues this season by 10 (coincidentally, the Padres' Ian Kennedy is second on the list with 12) and the sixth-highest total in Padres history. The Padres record for unearned runs allowed in a season is 26 set by Steve Arlin in 1971 and tied by bobby J. Jones in 2001). Cashner is 2-2 since the All-Star break with a 3.78 earned run average.

-- Matt Kemp was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer to extend his hitting streak to 13 straight games, the longest hitting streak by a Padre this season and Kemp's longest since a 16-game streak late last season. The right fielder is hitting .385 (20-for-52) during the streak with a double, a triple and four homers for 13 RBIs. Included during the streak was the first cycle in Padres' history. Kemp's 15th homer of the season capped his 38th multi-hit game of the season.

-- Yangervis Solarte also hit a two-run homer Friday night, giving the third baseman homers in three straight games for the first time in his career. The last Padre to homer in three straight games was Chase Headley (Sept. 13-15, 2013). Solarte has hit safely in 22 of his last 25 games, going 33-for-97 (.340) with six doubles, two triples and five
home runs for 16 RBIs and 20 runs scored.

-- Catcher Derek Norris threw out St. Louis lead-off hitter Matt Carpenter trying to steal second in the third inning Friday night. It was the Major League-leading 33rd runner thrown out by Norris this season. That is the most by a National League catcher since Jason Kendall threw out 35 in 2008.

-- Brett Wallace hit the Padres third, two-run homer Friday night as a pinch-hitter. It was Wallace's second home run as a pinch-hitter this season - and the fourth by a Padres' pinch-hitter. Wallace is batting .296 (8-for-27) as a pinch-hitter with two homers and seven RBIs.