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Margot's adjustments pay off in win over Giants

MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN FRANCISCO -- It took a couple months -- and a complete overhaul of his swing mechanics -- but at long last, Manny is being Manny.

Entering the year, the Padres envisioned big things for Manuel Margot, the speedy 23-year-old whom they presume to be their center fielder of the future. The season couldn't have started much worse. Through May, Margot's average hovered around .200, as he rolled over weak grounder after weak grounder.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- It took a couple months -- and a complete overhaul of his swing mechanics -- but at long last, Manny is being Manny.

Entering the year, the Padres envisioned big things for Manuel Margot, the speedy 23-year-old whom they presume to be their center fielder of the future. The season couldn't have started much worse. Through May, Margot's average hovered around .200, as he rolled over weak grounder after weak grounder.

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In the Padres' 6-2 victory over the Giants on Friday night at AT&T Park, Margot might as well have been a different ballplayer entirely. He knocked in two runs in his third straight multi-hit effort. He drew a leadoff walk to spark a three-run, ninth-inning rally. And he continued to hit the baseball hard. (No Padres hitter has a higher average exit velocity this month than Margot's 94 mph mark.)

Video: SF@SD: Hosmer, Margot, Green on 6-2 win over Giants

"The work he's put in is paying off," said manager Andy Green, as the Padres snapped their five-game skid.

And make no mistake, Margot worked. Earlier this month, Green posited that he'd never seen a hitter work harder on a midseason adjustment. Margot changed his center of gravity and revamped his load to wait and react a bit more.

Video: SD@SF: Margot chops an RBI single into left field

The results weren't instantaneous either, but they're finally taking shape. Margot is batting .357 this month, and he's already worked more walks in June than he did in April or May.

"It was new, and it was weird, because I had never hit in any way that wasn't the way I hit before," Margot said. "I've been getting more comfortable every single day, and I start seeing the results. That helps me believe in the work and the time and effort I put in."

Margot provided a chunk of the offense, tying the game in the second with an RBI double and giving the Padres a two-run lead in the sixth with a single. They tacked on three insurance runs in the ninth with two-out hits from Eric Hosmer and Jose Pirela.

Video: SD@SF: Pirela drives in Myers with a single to right

On the mound, Clayton Richard was sharp for six-plus frames. Richard, the Majors' leader in ground-ball rate, allowed two runs on three hits while inducing 11 outs on grounders.

The veteran left-hander has turned his season around since his last start at AT&T Park when he allowed seven runs in four innings on May 2. At the time, Richard's ERA sat at 6.21. He's lowered it by nearly two full points.

"It's definitely a better feeling than six weeks ago," Richard said.

Video: SD@SF: Richard strikes out 4 over 6-plus innings

The bullpen did the rest. Green used three relievers to record three outs in the seventh after he removed Richard following a leadoff single. That run came around to score before Craig Stammen got Alen Hanson to fly to left, stranding the tying run on third base. Kirby Yates and Brad Hand -- as they've done all year -- anchored the eighth and ninth.

"Our bullpen has been lock-down," said Richard, who got a somewhat quick hook after just 79 pitches. "No second guessing."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Check that: Hosmer gave the Padres some breathing room during a tense one-run game in the ninth inning -- and he did so using only three-quarters of a swing. With two men in scoring position, Giants skipper Bruce Bochy opted to walk Wil Myers and face Hosmer. Left-hander Will Smith got two strikes on the Padres slugger, before Hosmer poked an opposite field hit through the left side.

"It definitely fires you up a little bit," Hosmer said of the intentional pass. "I certainly don't take offense to it. It's Wil Myers, I understand that. But the competitor in me -- at the same time -- really wants to get it done and prove them wrong."

Video: SD@SF: Hosmer smacks a 2-run single to left field

Great Yates: Yates found himself in instant trouble when he allowed a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Joe Panik. The top of the Giants order was due up, and Yates was having trouble locating his splitter -- easily his best pitch. Instead, he went to his fastball, and often. Yates punched out Gorkys Hernandez, got Buster Posey to pop to second and punched out Andrew McCutchen. He then skipped off the mound before letting out a yell, the Padres' one-run lead intact. Yates had lowered his ERA to an absurd 0.90.

"Kirby has had ice water in his veins all year," Green said. "Every single time there's been a crucial situation for us, he's stepped up."

Video: SD@SF: Yates fans McCutchen, strands a runner in 8th

HE SAID IT
"It was good to see Wil square some balls up, but I think he finally got a hit when he didn't square it up. Maybe he shouldn't hit it so hard all the time." -- Green, on Myers' first hit since his return from the disabled list, a slow chopper up the third-base line in the seventh

Video: SD@SF: Myers hustles to first for an infield single

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
A red-hot Cory Spangenberg sparked the Padres' go-ahead rally in the sixth with a rocket down the first-base line. Posey made a diving grab and flipped to pitcher Chris Stratton just as Spangenberg slid into the bag with his left leg. Initially, Spangenberg was ruled out, but the Padres challenged, and the play was overturned. He scored later in the frame when catcher Nick Hundley threw errantly to second base trying to nail Freddy Galvis. In that same at-bat, Margot plated Galvis with an RBI single.

Video: SD@SF: Spangenberg reaches first after review

UP NEXT
Jordan Lyles bounced back from a pair of rough outings with seven innings of one-run ball in Atlanta in his last start. The right-hander has been sharp at times this season. But since his move to the rotation, he hasn't found any consistency. He'll try to establish a measure of that on Saturday in the third game of the series at 1:05 p.m. PT. The Giants counter with left-hander Andrew Suarez.

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

San Diego Padres, Manuel Margot, Clayton Richard