SAN DIEGO -- Maligned for much of the season's first two months, the Padres' offense suddenly looks like one of the more potent groups in the National League.Since the start of June, the Padres have scored 91 times in 17 games, tying them for the second most in the league
SAN DIEGO -- Maligned for much of the season's first two months, the Padres' offense suddenly looks like one of the more potent groups in the National League.
Since the start of June, the Padres have scored 91 times in 17 games, tying them for the second most in the league and fifth in the Majors. With their thrilling come-from-behind 7-3 victory over Washington on Saturday, the Friars leapfrogged the Nats atop the NL's batting-average leaderboard at .281.
So what's been the key to San Diego's offensive resurgence? Well, it helps that Wil Myers and Matt Kemp have busted out of their slumps.
"We went through a May where Matt and Wil struggled," said Padres skipper Andy Green. "Everybody knows when they come in here, they're the heart of our order, they're our guys. Jon Jay's been pretty consistent all year long, but going through May, Matt and Wil were struggling a little bit, and we were having a hard time scoring runs. Those guys have been really good since the beginning of June, and those guys will carry us."
Indeed, Myers has seemingly picked up the entire Padres' offense and put it on his back over the past couple of weeks. His nine homers in June lead the Majors -- including an opposite-field blast against Nationals ace Max Scherzer in the bottom of the first inning Saturday night.
That was the only run the Padres would score against Scherzer. But they consistently worked deep counts against the Nationals' veteran right-hander, and forced him to exit after just six innings.
"There were a lot of at-bats that he could've ended pitches earlier," Green said. "Where he typically strikes guys out, our guys fouled pitches off, made him throw three, four extra pitches."
Said Myers: "We've done a really good job with two strikes. When we get two strikes, we go to work."
Scherzer's early exit paid major dividends later, as the Friars rallied for six runs against the Nationals bullpen in the eighth inning -- before even recording an out.
"They've got a taxed bullpen," Green said. "... So it was a matter of: Let's make Scherzer work as hard as possible and get to the bullpen. If we get him out in the sixth inning, that's success to a degree, even if we scored one run off of him."
The big blow in the eighth was Myers' two-run double, which fell just in front of the outstretched glove of Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor. With his 3-for-4 night, Myers is now batting .373/.421/.896 in June.
"He's wanted to be healthy for an entire season so bad; he's been through so much in the last couple years," Green said. "He hasn't gotten to play baseball consistently enough to really find rhythm. We're finally a few months into a season, and you see him in rhythm right now. You see what he's capable of."
On Saturday, Myers gave all the credit to Jay, who led off the game with a nine-pitch at-bat against Scherzer. Even though he made an out -- a deep fly ball to the warning track in left -- Jay set the tone.
Like Myers, Jay (.366) has also been red-hot this month. So, too, have Kemp (.338) and Derek Norris (.303).
For two months, it seemed the Padres' bats couldn't live up to the quality efforts of their pitching staff. Recently, it's been the other way around.
But on Saturday -- with 6 2/3 solid frames from rookie righty Colin Rea -- the Padres put the two together.
"This whole series, I think we've played the Nationals really well," Myers said. "We lost the first two games, but I feel like we've been in every single game. We've had a chance at the end. We played really well against these guys, and tonight we were able to come through with a win."
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.