Franmil flexes power with two-homer game
Hedges also goes deep with help from outfielder in Padres win
SAN DIEGO -- It was always just a matter of time.
Even if his results haven't been great, Franmil Reyes has scorched the baseball all season. On Tuesday night, he broke through in a big way.
The Padres' slugger notched the second multi-homer game of his career in a 6-3 victory over Seattle at Petco Park. He crushed a two-run shot in the second inning, and a solo blast in the sixth -- both on inside fastballs from Mariners starter Erik Swanson.
Reyes entered the day hitting just .200. But his underlying numbers told a different story. Reyes' 94.6 mph average exit velocity ranked 10th in baseball. His .676 expected slugging percentage was seventh.
“You have to keep hitting the same way you've been hitting,” Reyes said. “Someday they were going to fall. That's what's happening right now.”
Fernando Tatis Jr. extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a first-inning single, and Eric Hosmer put the Padres on top with a second-inning double, before Reyes strode to the plate for the first time. Swanson came inside with a fastball, and he actually jammed Reyes a bit.
But there aren’t many hitters stronger than the hulking 6-foot-5, 275-pound Reyes. With quick hands to match his power, the 23-year-old connected on the inside pitch, and he swatted it into the left-center-field bullpen.
“It's any part of the ballpark, at any time, on any pitch,” said Padres manager Andy Green. “He can sting you a variety of different ways. To have a guy like that in the middle of the order, to see him turning it on right now, it's really, really good for us.”
Swanson, evidently, hadn’t learned his lesson by the sixth. He tried to come inside with another fastball, and Reyes popped it into the Padres’ bullpen once again, giving San Diego a 4-2 lead. Austin Hedges doubled that advantage with a strange two-run homer -- off the glove of Mariners center fielder Mallex Smith and over the wall.
Hedges -- who also robbed Smith of an infield hit with a ridiculous airborne throw to first base -- had some high praise for Reyes after the game.
“Every time he steps up to the plate, that's what we expect, because of the work that he puts in,” Hedges said. “It's one of the most disciplined batting practices I've ever seen. We expect nothing less of him. It doesn't have to be homers. We expect balls to be hard hit and competitive at-bats. That's what he gives us.”
For a short time last week, Reyes’ rocket line drives stopped, and he fell into his first real slump. During the first five games of the homestand, he went 2-for-16, with only one walk and eight strikeouts. Green theorized that Reyes may have been thrown off by the lack of early results.
“Like any other human being, when you don’t get a hit after a while,” Green added.
But Reyes smashed an opposite-field single on Sunday, before his two-homer breakout on Tuesday night. Evidently, the slump didn’t last very long.
“I said it couple days ago: If we could control where the ball was going to land, we'd all be hitting a lot,” Reyes said. “But it feels great to hit it where nobody could catch it.”