Padres' 5-HR burst 'fun to watch' — but can it stick?

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SAN DIEGO — The Padres have spent the better part of the past month in search of power on the trade market. Finding a bat — preferably one full of homers — remains their top priority ahead of Tuesday’s Trade Deadline. At Petco Park in particular, the power outage has been stark.

But on Friday? Well, for one night at least, the Padres got what they’ve been searching for.

They entered their series opener against the Twins with five home runs at Petco Park in the entire month of July. Then, they proceeded to launch five in one night in a 10-1 rout of Minnesota that they desperately needed.

“That’s something we’ve been on the cusp of all season,” said DH Luke Voit, whose moonshot two-run homer in the first inning got the party started. “It was nice to get on a roll after that off-day and do some damage tonight.”

Voit’s towering blast ignited a rowdy sold-out crowd in the East Village. It hung in the air for what felt like ages, before landing in the second row as Petco Park whipped into a frenzy. The 46-degree launch angle tied the highest launch angle ever recorded on a Padres home run. (Hunter Renfroe did so as well in 2019.)

“That was fun to watch,” Alfaro said. “It was fun to be a part of it, the complete game. It was fun to watch those swings.”

In the end, it was plenty of run support for Blake Snell, who really hasn’t gotten much of that this year. Snell started the season slowly. But he’s suddenly starting to look a lot like the pitcher who has thrived in second halves of recent seasons.

On Friday, Snell pitched six innings of one-run ball, striking out seven while allowing four hits and a walk. In five July starts, he’s now posted a 2.81 ERA.

“Overall, I’m just comfortable,” Snell said. “I know what I need to do, know what pitches I’m throwing. I’m just in a good rhythm.”

Dinelson Lamet, Steven Wilson and Tim Hill followed Snell with a scoreless inning apiece. Earlier in the day, the Padres had announced their decision to lift Taylor Rogers from the closer role following his recent struggles. It was wholly unclear who might pitch the ninth inning of a close game — but the San Diego offense made that question moot.

“Getting a cushion like that … getting two runs in the first was big, and then we just kept slugging,” said manager Bob Melvin.

Of course, one night’s power surge won’t alter any of the team’s Trade Deadline planning. Even with the five-homer barrage — the Padres’ first in over a calendar year — they still rank 25th in the Majors with 86 home runs on the season.

But it was a timely reminder that the Padres have some legit power potential in-house. Machado leads the team with 17 homers. Voit has been hot and cold all season and has run into some rough luck at times. But he’s a certifiable big league slugger. Alfaro, too.

“There’s some guys with some track records of slugging,” Melvin said. “Up and down the lineup we have the ability. … Hopefully it’s a sign of something to come.”

The Padres’ offense, with Friday night as evidence, clearly isn’t as barren as it seemed at times over the past month. On top of that, Fernando Tatis Jr. is expected to enter the fray at some point in August.

The superstar shortstop continued his rehab from a left wrist fracture, progressing to on-field batting practice earlier this week. That meant Friday, the start of an eight-game homestand, marked the first time Tatis has hit at Petco Park this year.

“Obviously getting Tati back will be a huge boost to that, too,” Voit said. “And hopefully we get Wil [Myers] back the next couple days as well. Everything’s trending in the right way. I’m excited. This was obviously a huge step for this offense. These next 60 games are crucial. We’ve got to hit to win.”

The Padres know it. So does their front office.


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