MIAMI -- Playing as a Major Leaguer for the first time in Miami since growing up in South Florida, Carlos Asuaje put together a night he won't soon forget in front of family and friends.Donning simply his last name on his Players Weekend jersey, the Padres' second baseman -- who
MIAMI -- Playing as a Major Leaguer for the first time in Miami since growing up in South Florida, Carlos Asuaje put together a night he won't soon forget in front of family and friends.
Donning simply his last name on his Players Weekend jersey, the Padres' second baseman -- who played baseball at nearby St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale -- launched a two-run home run and a double in San Diego's 8-6 loss to the Marlins on Friday night at Marlins Park.
Only a few years ago, Asuaje was attending Marlins Park as a fan while still in college. He said he watched a lot of Marlins games, and fondly recalled watching the likes of Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes.
"It was the first time playing in Miami and in front of a crowd like that," Asuaje said. "It was a really good experience, really cool and one I'll always remember, probably."
Asuaje's homecoming party kicked off in a big way in his second at-bat, when he yanked the first pitch he saw from Adam Conley over the right-field fence for his third homer of the season.
The long ball breathed some life back into the Padres' dugout in the fourth inning after Giancarlo Stanton's two early homers put Miami on top, 3-0.
"Obviously, a great experience in front of friends and family and the home crowd," Asuaje said. "Especially in that situation to put us back in the game in a hurry. I was excited about that."
Asuaje also played a big part in San Diego's four-run sixth inning that staked the Padres to a 6-5 lead. The 5-foot-9 lefty drilled a double to center off Conley and later came around on William Myers' sacrifice fly.
Despite the 40 or so family and friends Asuaje estimated were there for him -- including his parents, his sister, aunts, uncles, friends and old coaches -- Asuaje, who is honoring his father on his jersey patch this weekend, said he never felt nervous.
He did, however, want to win in front of his biggest supporters. That much was even apparent to Padres manager Andy Green.
"I know it's big for him," Green said. "I know he wanted to win today playing in front of his hometown people in Miami and hitting the home run and hitting the double the other way."
Not all was lost. Asuaje, one of the pieces acquired from Boston in the Craig Kimbrel trade in 2015, showcased yet again why he deserves to be batting second. The 25-year-old is hitting .297 through 55 games this year and is 14-for-38 (.368) over his last 10 games.
Green, meanwhile, has no intention of messing with him.
"I don't worry about him at all," Green said. "Of any player I have, I don't spend much time thinking about him. He shows up to play every single day. He gives you the same quality at-bats every day."
Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Padres on Friday.