ST. LOUIS -- Yangervis Solarte put the loudest exclamation point possible on a career night in St. Louis on Tuesday.The Padres infielder knocked in half of his team's runs in a 12-4 series-opening rout of the Cardinals. The final two of his career high six RBIs came on his longest
ST. LOUIS -- Yangervis Solarte put the loudest exclamation point possible on a career night in St. Louis on Tuesday.
The Padres infielder knocked in half of his team's runs in a 12-4 series-opening rout of the Cardinals. The final two of his career high six RBIs came on his longest home run ever tracked by Statcast™. (And it wasn't even close.)
Solarte turned around a 1-0 fastball from Cardinals reliever Josh Lucas in the eighth and sent it a projected 455 feet, 10 rows beyond the Cardinals' bullpen in right field. It was 15 feet longer than any previously tracked Solarte home run.
He also tied a career high with three extra-base hits, including a pair of doubles against Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn, that plated four runs.
"Who's going to give us the best at-bat against top-flight pitching?" asked Padres manager Andy Green, rhetorically. "It's consistently [Solarte]. If you're looking to beat a really good team and a really good pitcher in this ballpark, he's the guy that usually anchors that."
Of course, Solarte's value isn't quantifiable in numbers alone. There's a case to be made he's never been more important to the Padres than he is right now.
During the season's first half, Solarte had played second base almost exclusively. After missing a month with a left oblique strain, he was asked to play shortstop and third base as well. With the emergence of Carlos Asuaje at second and Cory Spangenberg at third, Solarte's flexibility has proved hugely important for the Padres.
"Ultimately, I'm happy to be in the lineup," Solarte said. "... I'm always grateful to be able to play multiple positions, because that gives you flexibility. Whatever it takes to help the team win, and at the same time, that helps me in my career, being able to bounce around the field, play multiple positions."
He's played each position at least seven times since his July 30 return. Defensively, he's been adequate at each spot. Offensively, he's been more than that. With 14 homers, Solarte is one shy of his career high set last season, and he's slashing .270/.341/.439. His .781 OPS is tops on the team, among players with as many at-bats.
"He's a real hitter," said Green. "Whatever position he plays, he's going to be fine in the batter's box."
And speaking of Solarte's value, his impact in the clubhouse plays no small part. To a man, his teammates have raved about his upbeat nature.
"He's a great teammate," said Asuaje. "He's a good clubhouse guy, brings energy everyday. And the guy is really talented. He's special with the bat. That home run he hit today was impressive."
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.