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Competitive Asuaje downplays first MLB HR

Loss dampens milestone for Padres rookie second baseman
MLB.com @AJCassavell

DENVER -- Carlos Asuaje had just launched his first big league home run, a majestic drive into the visiting bullpen, during the Padres' 9-7 loss to the Rockies on Tuesday night.

As you'd expect, Asuaje arrived at his locker after the game to a phone that overflowed with congratulatory messages. He certainly appreciated those. But ...

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DENVER -- Carlos Asuaje had just launched his first big league home run, a majestic drive into the visiting bullpen, during the Padres' 9-7 loss to the Rockies on Tuesday night.

As you'd expect, Asuaje arrived at his locker after the game to a phone that overflowed with congratulatory messages. He certainly appreciated those. But ...

View Full Game Coverage

"There were more than I want to see after a loss," Asuaje said, only half-joking.

Such is the nature of Asuaje, the Padres' rookie second baseman, who isn't one to gush over his achievements on a night his team dropped its second straight in Colorado.

"He's such a competitor," said Padres manager Andy Green. "... I know it'd be a lot sweeter, the way he's wired, if we came back and won the baseball game. But it's still special."

Asuaje also doubled in the first inning and came around to score the game's opening run. Then, in the seventh, he clobbered a hanging Jordan Lyles curveball over the right-center-field fence, cutting the Rockies' lead to 9-7.

Video: SD@COL: Pirela lines an RBI double to the wall

Asuaje's 2-for-5 night was merely the latest in a string of impressive performances since his mid-June callup. He was handed the starting second base job when Yangervis Solarte went down with a left oblique strain in Chicago. It marked his first chance to play every day in the Majors. And thus far, he's making the most of it, batting .315/.367/.452 this season.

Over the past 11 games, Asuaje has reached base in 10 of them. In his eyes, that's a sign he's doing his job. Any power he can contribute is secondary.

"That's not what they pay me to do," Asuaje said. "I'm not overly worried about that. My production's going to be about getting on base, scoring runs, more than anything else. Whether I slug high or whether I don't, I don't think that's the overall tell for me. For me, it's just about getting on base and letting the 3, 4, 5 hitters behind me drive me in."

He's done plenty of that recently, putting forth, arguably, the toughest at-bats in the Padres' lineup over the past couple of weeks.

"Even if he strikes out, he doesn't give anything away," Green said. "I think it's a huge advantage for him to just be in the lineup and consistently out there. He's making the most of his opportunity."

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

San Diego Padres, Carlos Asuaje