ST. LOUIS -- Over the past decade, the Padres have rarely found themselves defined by their power. But since the start of June, the long ball has been arguably their greatest asset.
With Matt Kemp's solo shot during the fourth inning of a 10-2 loss to the Cardinals on Monday night, the Padres extended their franchise-record homer streak to 16 games. That's the longest such stretch by a National League team since the Brewers did so in 2010. (In the American League, Texas and Boston have already exceeded that mark this season.)
Of all the NL teams capable of matching those '10 Brewers -- led by Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun -- the Padres seemed to be a long shot a month ago. They haven't finished in the top half of the Majors in home runs since 2007.
But the Friars have gone deep 27 times in those 16 games, moving them into a tie for 14th, even with their woeful first two months at the plate. Only the Mets have hit more dingers in July.
"We've just been swinging the bat well, having better at-bats," Kemp said. "There's really not that much more you can say about it. Everybody's got a plan, sticking to it and starting to hit the ball hard."
The streak began on June 28, against the Orioles, when Melvin Upton Jr. launched a 465-foot homer, the longest Padre-hit homer ever recorded by Statcast™.
The taters kept coming -- and from throughout the lineup. During the streak, Upton has five, as do Yangervis Solarte and Ryan Schimpf. Wil Myers and Kemp have three apiece -- with Kemp's coming in each of the last three games.
In the eyes of skipper Andy Green, it's no coincidence that the power surge began around the time Solarte returned from a hamstring injury.
"I think Solarte [coming] back probably extended that a couple times along the way here, the last 16 games," Green said. "When he was out, it was a little bit short from a power perspective. Now ... the first four guys can pretty much leave the yard at any time, and Schimpf's been an addition to that, too."
Of course, it's not just the homers that have skyrocketed for the Padres. Through May, only the Braves and Phillies were less productive at the plate, but since June, no team in the NL has scored more runs than San Diego's 216, even after Monday's poor showing.
The goal, of course, is to carry that offensive success through the second half.
"I just feel good, got a couple days off," Kemp said. "It's going to be a long half, so we've got to try to start off hot and stay hot. Get something going -- now."