SAN DIEGO -- Despite a negative ending, Jabari Blash found a collection of positives in his return to the Majors.In his first game back with the Padres after a promotion from Triple-A El Paso, Blash was in the box for Friday night's defining at-bat against the Giants. With two outs,
SAN DIEGO -- Despite a negative ending, Jabari Blash found a collection of positives in his return to the Majors.
In his first game back with the Padres after a promotion from Triple-A El Paso, Blash was in the box for Friday night's defining at-bat against the Giants. With two outs, the bases loaded and San Diego trailing by a run, Blash battled with closer Sam Dyson for seven pitches, working the count full before sending a 95-mph two-seamer on the edge of the strike zone into right field. Blash hit the ball deep enough to excite the Petco Park crowd, but not far enough to complete the Padres' comeback, as it landed in Hunter Pence's glove short of the warning track to give the Giants a 5-4 victory to start the second half.
"As a hitter, with all these at-bats, you look for small things like hard contact," Blash said. "Even when you strike out or fly out or get out, you have a lot of good things to take away at times. It was a good day, even though I wish that ball got down or got out."
Blash was recalled after the Padres put Hunter Renfroe on the disabled list with a strained neck. Blash took Renfroe's place in right field, batting sixth.
As manager Andy Green noted before the game, Blash didn't receive consistent at-bats during his previous stints in the Majors, but he thrived while getting regular time with El Paso, hitting hit .308 with a 1.111 OPS since the start of June. A .150 hitter in his prior big league appearances, Blash didn't hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity presented to him Friday, reaching base three times.
With the Padres trailing, 2-0, in the second inning and Cory Spangenberg on first, Blash lashed a double down the left-field line in his first at-bat back with the big league club, driving in Spangenberg.
"I really didn't change anything," Blash said. "Came back with one mindset, and that's to compete every pitch and put myself and this team in a good position to win games."
Blash scored the tying run on Erick Aybar's subsequent single, drew a walk in the third and singled on Hunter Strickland's 96-mph heater in the eighth.
In the ninth, he worked a 2-0 count before hacking on a fastball down the middle before fouling off the next two from Dyson. Green appreciated Blash's approach, which he said he had rarely seen from the 28-year-old outfielder.
"I loved the last at-bat," Green said, "because Jabari, when he'd been here before, it would've been 2-0, he would've been hoping for a walk instead of taking an aggressive pass. He swings through it. That's part of the game. I thought that whole at-bat was a really good at-bat up to the time he flies out to the track in right field."
Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego.