Francisco Mejia homers twice, Padres beat Reds 6-2

CINCINNATI (AP) — Francisco Mejia felt nervous in the early innings of his first game behind the plate for the Padres. All he needed was one swing to settle in.

Mejia hit a solo homer and a three-run shot during his first start as the team’s up-and-coming catcher on Thursday night, leading San Diego to a 6-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Mejia connected on his first two swings against Luis Castillo (8-12) for his first homers in the majors. The 22-year-old prized prospect was called up Tuesday as the Padres get him ready for a bigger role next season.

He made quite a debut.

“Two really good swings, loud contact both ways,” manager Andy Green said. “They tried to sneak a couple fastballs by him, and he’s proven really quickly he can hit a fastball. He did a nice job behind the plate, too. He’s literally getting a crash course on every reliever when they come into the game.”

The Padres got Mejia from Cleveland in a July trade for relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber as the AL Central leaders tried to overhaul their struggling bullpen. Mejia hit seven homers at Triple-A after the deal, and the Padres called him up to start getting him ready for bigger things.

He’s expected to catch roughly half the games the rest of the way, getting to know an unfamiliar pitching staff. In his first game, he didn’t let the challenge of handling six new pitchers affect his offense.