LOS ANGELES -- When did Hunter Renfroe first set his sights on Nate Colbert's record for home runs by a Padres rookie?"Game 1," said the slugging right fielder, who achieved that goal on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, with four games to spare.Renfroe blasted his 25th home run, a solo
LOS ANGELES -- When did Hunter Renfroe first set his sights on Nate Colbert's record for home runs by a Padres rookie?
"Game 1," said the slugging right fielder, who achieved that goal on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, with four games to spare.
Renfroe blasted his 25th home run, a solo shot that gave San Diego a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning of a 9-2 loss to the Dodgers. In the process, he passed Colbert to break a franchise mark that stood for 48 years.
"It's a pretty cool achievement," said Renfroe, whose prodigious power has never been in doubt. "Obviously I want to keep going, keep hitting more. So I'll keep working."
For much of the season, it seemed a formality that Renfroe would break Colbert's record, set in 1969 during the franchise's inaugural season. Renfroe had 16 dingers at the All-Star break.
But he quickly found himself mired in a second-half slump, recording just four homers over the next month. When his on-base percentage dipped to .285 on Aug. 17, Renfroe was optioned to Triple-A El Paso and wouldn't return until Sept. 18 -- still sitting on 20 homers.
Renfroe wasted no time falling back into a home run groove. In his first plate appearance, he went deep off D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin. Later in that series, he became the first Padres player in 16 years to homer three times in a game.
That effort tied Colbert's mark. And on Tuesday, Renfroe surpassed it with one of his most impressive dingers to date. Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood delivered a fastball on the outside corner and three inches below Renfroe's knees. Somehow, Renfroe golfed the pitch to the center-field batter's eye.
"It's ridiculous power," said Padres manager Andy Green. "It's exciting to see that type of swing. It looked like a 2-iron going out of the ballpark."
The ball traveled a projected 405 feet and left his bat at 108 mph, according to Statcast™. With a launch angle of just 17 degrees, Renfroe's low-flying missile tied his own mark for the lowest launch angle on a Padres home run this season.
But Renfroe wasn't sent to Triple-A to add more power. The Padres want to see him put together more savvy at-bats -- specifically against right-handed pitching. Renfroe did just that in the seventh, lining a single up the middle off Dodgers reliever Josh Fields.
"For me, the line drive up the middle was more exciting than the home run," Green said. "He's got all the potential in the world. We're excited about the future."
There's still more work to be done, if Renfroe is to become the middle-of-the-order threat the Padres are looking for. But he's pleased with some of the strides he made in Year 1.
"I think I've gotten more patient," Renfroe said. "I don't know if the numbers will show that, but I think I have gotten more patient. I've kind of changed my approach, changed my way of thinking at the plate -- and got to keep evolving."
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.