The big hope, of course, is that more balls will fly over the fence.
From the right-field porch to the right-center gap, the fence was moved in from 402 feet to 391 feet and lowered to just under 8 feet, matching the rest of the outfield wall. In left-center, the fence came in from 402 feet to 390 feet.
While Petco is expected to remain a pitchers' park, the Padres (1-5) hope that players who crush a ball end up with a homer rather than a frustrating long out, the kind that have left sluggers angst-ridden since the downtown ballyard opened in 2004.
Having played with the Padres from 2006-2010, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is interested to see how Petco will play.
"Day games were OK, but night games were tough," Gonzalez said. "The first couple of innings you had a chance, but after that the ball would hang up in the air quite a bit because everybody knows about the marine layer."
The old dimensions "probably made the pitchers more aggressive in the strike zone, knowing that even if you hit a ball decent, it's probably going to get caught," Gonzalez said. "So it's good that they brought them in a few feet - any number helps. They just did it because they want to make it as even as possible for both sides and not have it be a place that's not considered such a one-dimensional ballpark."
Padres scheduled starter Clayton Richard (0-1, 14.54 ERA) said he hasn't thought much about the new fences.
"I don't think it's going to change anybody's approach," he said. "If you start changing your approach, that's where you get in trouble."
Richard will try to regain his command after struggling mightily in his season debut against the New York Mets on Wednesday. Pitching in a whipping wind, the left-hander was tagged for eight runs and seven hits - including three homers - in an 8-4 loss. It was an inauspicious start for Richard, who served up an NL-high 31 home runs last season. Ten of those came in 14 games at Petco Park.
Los Angeles scheduled starter Josh Beckett (0-1, 4.50) also had trouble keeping the ball in the park in his first start, yielding two homers and five runs in six innings of Wednesday's 5-3 loss to San Francisco.
He seemingly would have better success against a San Diego club that is returning home after managing one homer on its season-opening trip to New York and Colorado. The Padres have plated 14 total runs and are batting .167 with runners in scoring position.
Beckett gave up two runs in 5 2-3 innings in his lone start against the Padres last season - and first since 2007 - in a 2-1 loss Sept. 25.
The Dodgers (4-2) haven't been much better offensively than San Diego, totaling 17 runs and three homers.
Gonzalez, however, seems to be heating up, going 7 for 11 with two doubles and five RBIs in a three-game weekend sweep of Pittsburgh. In his only series at Petco since being traded from San Diego, Gonzalez went 6 for 13 with three RBIs last September.
He could be poised for a big game considering he's 7 for 8 lifetime against Richard.
Matt Kemp also has given Richard trouble, going 7 for 18 (.389) with two homers and three doubles since 2011.
Richard went 2-2 with a 3.79 ERA in six starts against the Dodgers last season.
|Tony Gwynn Jr.||9||.333||3||0||1||0||1||.333||.666||.333|
|Jerry Hairston Jr.||10||.000||0||0||1||0||0||.000||.000||.000|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|March 28, 2013||Ted Lilly||15-Day DL||Left shoulder labrum surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Chad Billingsley||15-Day DL||Right index finger contusion|
|March 22, 2013||Scott Elbert||15-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Hanley Ramirez||15-Day DL||Torn ligament, right thumb|
|March 21, 2013||Hanley Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Torn ligament, right thumb|
|San Diego Padres|
|March 30, 2013||Cory Luebke||60-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|March 30, 2013||Casey Kelly||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery, out for season|
|March 27, 2013||Logan Forsythe||15-Day DL||Plantar fasciitis, right foot|
|March 22, 2013||Chase Headley||15-Day DL||Broken left thumb|
|March 22, 2013||James Darnell||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|March 22, 2013||Casey Kelly||Day-to-Day||Right elbow|
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Petco Park has never looked so good to the San Diego Padres , and not just because the fences are no longer so far away.
Will Venable homered and hit a bases-loaded triple for the Padres, who rebounded from a dreadful six-game trip to win their home opener 9-3 against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday at their reconfigured downtown ballpark.
"We were all excited to be home and looking forward to playing a good game," Venable said. "We wanted to be aggressive and we made all the plays we were supposed to today and it worked out for us."
Or, as Mark Kotsay put it after a long spring training followed by two games against Texas at San Antonio and then six road games to open the season: "It was starting to get hard to find a pair of clean underwear."
Venable tied his career-high with four RBIs. He homered in the first and his two-out triple highlighted a five-run eighth against three Dodgers relievers. The Padres sent 11 batters to the plate that inning, five of whom walked.
Nick Hundley also homered off Josh Beckett for the Padres, who were outhomered 10-1 and outscored 40-14 in going 1-5 in a swing through New York and Colorado.
"We didn't play well on the trip. But our guys have a lot of resolve to play well," manager Bud Black said.
The Padres spent between $2.5 million and $3.5 million to bring in the fences in an attempt to make the spacious downtown park play a little fairer. From the right-field porch to the right-center gap, the fence was moved in from 402 feet to 391 feet and lowered to just under 8 feet, matching the rest of the outfield wall. In left-center, the fence came in from 402 feet to 390 feet. That allowed the visiting team's bullpen to be relocated from right-field foul territory to behind the home bullpen.
Venable's homer in the first landed in the seats behind the Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Deck on top of the new right-field fence. It would have been a homer in the old configuration.
"He threw a nice elevated pitch right down the middle and I put a pretty good swing on it," Venable said.
Black said he thinks Petco will surrender a total of 20 to 30 more homers this year.
Juan Uribe of the Dodgers was the first player to benefit from the closer fences. He hit a two-run shot that landed on top of the new fence in right in the fourth, tying the game at 2. Adrian Gonzalez was aboard on a leadoff single.
"We're going to mark `em. There's the one," Black said of Uribe's shot. "Let's hope we get the majority of them. Will didn't need the new park with his. Will had a good game. That was great swing in the first inning off of Beckett, and a good at-bat against the lefty. Got it in the right part of the park."
Six of the Padres' runs scored with two outs.
"We have to do a better job, myself included, when we get two outs," Beckett said. "The Venable home run, you'd like to have that pitch back, but really the two-out groundball, those are tough to swallow."
After Venable homered, Yonder Alonso doubled to right-center with two outs in the first and scored on rookie Jedd Gyorko 's single up the middle.
Hundley homered leading off the fifth off the facade of the balcony on the second level of the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in the left-field corner for a 3-2 lead.
The Dodgers tied it in the seventh when Carl Crawford hit a leadoff single against Andrew Cashner , advanced on two groundouts and scored on Adrian Gonzalez 's single.
San Diego regained the lead in the bottom half on pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay 's RBI double. Cameron Maybin reached on a leadoff infield single and was sacrificed along by Hundley, setting up Kotsay.
Venable was intentionally walked with two outs to get to Carlos Quentin , who was hit above his right wrist by a pitch from Ronald Belisario (0-1).
Quentin, who's been slow to recover after offseason surgery on his right knee, immediately signaled for trainer Todd Hutcheson. After speaking for a few minutes with Hutcheson and Black, Quentin came out. Yonder Alonso flied out to right to end the threat.
Quentin had an X-ray "and it came back looking good," Black said. "It hit him pretty square. I think we were all holding our breath there. A couple of initial tests that Hutch put him through looked pretty good. He kept his strength; no pain."
Luke Gregerson (1-0) got the last out of the seventh, the only batter he faced, for the win.
Beckett allowed three runs and six hits in five innings, struck out four and walked one.
"He's going to be around the plate and give up his share of hits," manager Don Mattingly said. "But he keeps himself in the game."
Padres starter Clayton Richard also went five, allowing two runs and eight hits, with three strikeouts and three walks.
NOTES: The Dodgers optioned C Tim Federowicz to Triple-A but have yet to make a corresponding move. ... Black used Eric Stults , who's scheduled to start Wednesday night, to pinch-hit for Richard in the fifth. Stults flied out. Black used Tyson Ross , who's scheduled to start Friday against Colorado, to pinch-run for Quentin in the in the seventh. The moves paid off as Black was able to save Kotsay to pinch-hit in the seventh and Chris Denorfia in the eighth. Denorfia had an RBI single. ... Padres 3B Chase Headley , who broke his left thumb in a spring game, hit balls off a tee and in soft toss, and took grounders. Black says there's no ETA for the return of Headley, whose breakout season of 2012 included 31 homers, an NL-high 115 RBIS, plus his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. Black said Headley probably will go on a rehab assignment before being activated. "It's healing like it's supposed to," Headley said. "It feels good. They said that I can do as much or little as I want without pain." ... TaylorMade, which erected an 80-foot replica of a driver shaft along the right-field foul pole at in 2011 as part of a three-year sponsorship agreement with the Padres, has updated the graphics to a RocketBallz Stage 2 3-wood.