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Villanueva sets two Padres' rookie marks

Notes on Hedges, Renfroe, Asuaje, Stammen
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Third baseman Christian Villanueva finished the first half of the season with two Padres' rookie records.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Third baseman Christian Villanueva finished the first half of the season with two Padres' rookie records.

His home run against the Cubs Sunday afternoon at Petco Park was his 19th before the All-Star break. That's the most ever by a Padres rookie, the old mark being the 16 hit by Hunter Renfroe last season. Villanueva's 19 home runs lead all Major League rookies.  

Villanueva's 43 first-half RBIs is also a first-half Padres rookie record, eclipsing the 41 RBIs by left fielder Carmelo Martinez in the 1984 season.

Villanueva had two homers in the final five games of the first half after hitting only two in his previous 31 games, although the rate of his at-bats had decreased. Villanueva's batting average has ranged between .221 and his current .232 since June 13.  

NOTEBOOK:

• Right fielder Hunter Renfroe finished the first half with homers in back-to-back games to give him seven on the season. Although Renfroe was in a 3-for-25 slump with eight strikeouts going into the first half's final two games, Renfroe has still raised his batting average from .200 to .241 since returning from the disabled list on May 28. He has gone 31-123 (.252) since his return with 10 doubles, five homers and 16 RBIs. Renfroe is hitting .289 at home this season (24-for-83) compared to .198 on the road (18-for-91).

• Catcher Austin Hedges hit safely in eight straight starts before going 0-for-4 Sunday. During the streak, which included one pinch-hitting appearance, Hedges was 13-for-30 (.433) with two homers, two doubles, seven RBIs and four runs scored. Since he returned from the disabled list, Hedges has gone 16-for-50 (.320) to raise his batting average from .165 to .232. But he was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and two errors Sunday - marking the first time in his career that he had two errors in a game. He also had an error in his previous start, marking only the second time in his career that he had errors in back-to-back games.

• Second-third baseman Carlos Asuaje had a four-game hitting streak end with a pinch-hitting experience Sunday. Since returning fro Triple-A El Paso on July 1, Asuaje has gone 12-for-35 (.343) with a double, a triple, four RBIs, five runs scored and nine walks (.477 on-base percentage).

• RHP Craig Stammen struck out five hitters in two innings Sunday, his most strikeouts in a game since he had seven in 3 1/3 innings on May 19, 2017 against Arizona. But over his last nine outings, Stammen has given up eight runs (seven earned) on 17 hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts over 9 2/3 innings - an earned run average of 6.51, raising his season ERA from 1.96 to 2.91.

San Diego Padres