Friars get week's 5th slam, 3 HRs by Grisham

August 23rd, 2020

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres had their record-setting slam streak snapped on Friday night. So started a new one on Saturday -- and he did so as part of an epic power display, which also saw go deep three times.

In total, the Padres launched six home runs in their 13-2 rout of the Astros, tying the franchise record for a game in San Diego -- a mark they set earlier this month in an Aug. 9 victory over Arizona. Five of their home runs on Saturday night came during the first two innings.

Cronenworth’s brought Slam Diego back. The breakout rookie turned around a 3-1 fastball from Astros right-hander Humberto Castellanos in the second inning, sending it to the right-field porch at Petco Park. It was San Diego’s fifth grand slam in six games, the first time any team in MLB history has achieved that feat. The Padres have won all six of those games, their longest winning streak since June 2013.

“It's somebody different, every single night, stepping up,” Cronenworth said.

He’s not kidding. Remarkably, Cronenworth is the fifth different Padres batter to hit a slam this week. . started the run with his now-infamous 3-0 swing on Monday night. , and followed suit, as the Padres became the first team with grand slams in four straight games.

“I don’t know how to explain it,” manager Jayce Tingler said.

He tried for a moment, citing the plate discipline of his hitters and their ability to pick the right pitches to let loose on. Then he laughed and thought better of it: “I just don’t know how to explain it.”

Grisham, who completed his first three-homer game with a two-run shot off Joe Biagini in the seventh inning, is still waiting for his first slam. But his power clearly isn’t the problem. San Diego’s new leadoff man put together a career night, going 4-for-5 with six RBIs as he became the first Padre with a three-homer game this season.

On the team’s first swing of the game, he launched his second career leadoff home run. An inning later, he took Astros right-hander Brandon Bielak deep again.

That’s when things got testy. Bielak’s next pitch, a changeup, plunked Tatis squarely in the hip. The umpires convened beside the mound but opted not to eject Bielak. Both managers emerged for lengthy discussions with the law, but the tension dissipated quickly thereafter.

“It was a changeup,” Tingler said. “Usually, you don't throw at somebody intentionally with a changeup.”

Either way, it would be Bielak’s last pitch, having dug the Astros a five-run deficit. But the Padres weren’t done in the second inning. They plated nine runs in the frame, capped by Cronenworth’s slam.

“All the firsts this year, from my [first] hit, to the debut -- everything has just been awesome,” said Cronenworth.

It may be a shortened schedule, but the Padres still have a shot at making some franchise history. Their single-season slam record is 10 set in 2001. They have six of the Majors’ 22 grand slams this season -- easily the most in baseball.

They could also break another record if they hit a grand slam at some point in the next eight games. The Padres are one of five teams in baseball history with six grand slams in a calendar month. The Red Sox did so most recently, in April 2018.

Cronenworth’s blast gave right-hander an early nine-run lead, and Davies knew what to do with it. The Padres’ bullpen entered play Saturday in rough shape, having covered seven frames on Friday and extra innings in the two nights before. Davies worked eight innings, allowing four hits and striking out seven.

“Davies going as deep as he did and throwing as well as he did, especially with our bullpen -- it couldn’t have worked out any better,” Tingler said.

“He’s taken it to the next level, man,” said Grisham, who arrived with Davies in the November trade that sent Luis Urías and Eric Lauer to Milwaukee. “That changeup, man … he’s real comfortable with it, and it’s showing it out on the field. He’s dominating, doing what he does. He’s a technician.”

Davies returned the compliment.

“You could tell how hard he worked, you could tell the talent was there,” Davies said of Grisham. “For it to click so early is just a testament to him, how hard he’s worked.”

That trade looks more shrewd by the day.