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Villanueva clobbers HR to start May hot

MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN FRANCISCO -- Christian Villanueva wasted no time dispelling the notion that he might be a one-month wonder.

Villanueva, arguably the Majors' best rookie in April, homered in his first at-bat in May. He smashed a changeup from Giants left-hander Andrew Suarez into the left-field seats. His home run was one of two that the Padres hit en route to a 3-2 win on Tuesday night.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Christian Villanueva wasted no time dispelling the notion that he might be a one-month wonder.

Villanueva, arguably the Majors' best rookie in April, homered in his first at-bat in May. He smashed a changeup from Giants left-hander Andrew Suarez into the left-field seats. His home run was one of two that the Padres hit en route to a 3-2 win on Tuesday night.

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It was the ninth homer of the season for Villanueva, the most among rookies. He's still two plate appearances shy of qualifying for the league leaderboards, but his 1.113 OPS would be first in the National League and fourth in the Majors, behind only Didi Gregorius, Mookie Betts and Manny Machado.

"He's clearly, offensively, exceeded anyone's expectations so far this season," Padres manager Andy Green said Monday night. "He's got enough in the skill set that he can do some really impressive things with a bat in his hand. We want to see him continue to get better, not just be happy that he had a nice month in the big leagues.

"There's a lot more to proving yourself than one really solid month. We're going to continue to challenge him and continue to believe in him. You keep doing things the way you've been doing them, working as hard as you have, there's good things out in front of you."

The timing couldn't be any better. The Padres are headed to Monterrey, Mexico, to face the Dodgers this weekend, and Villanueva could be the only Mexican player on either team's roster.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Christian Villanueva