Myers hits 2 HRs as SD offense perks up

June 19th, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- A very warm welcome back to the Padres’ offense. Specifically: Welcome back, .

The Padres beat the Reds, 8-2, on Friday night at Petco Park, and their offense -- which had lately begun to feel a bit too much like a one-man show -- finally looked like the deep and potent collection of bats they always envisioned.

Myers homered twice and doubled. and pounded out two hits apiece. homered. , who launched a game-tying blast in the ninth inning on Thursday night, had one robbed on Friday.

“When you see multiple guys getting it done -- that’s the definition of a good offense, not just relying on one guy,” Myers said afterward.

Yes, did his part, too. He hit a leadoff double in the third inning and had an RBI single in the fourth. But Tatis can’t do it alone, and considering the other big-name bats in the San Diego lineup, he shouldn’t have to.

For all the struggles the Padres have endured this season -- they entered play ranked 16th in the Majors in team wRC+, an all-encompassing hitting metric -- Friday’s game offered a glimpse into what their offense might look like if they can get contributions around Tatis. And, as the Reds are finding out this week, it’s still a scary group of hitters.

It hadn’t been lately. Machado, Hosmer and Myers -- three hitters with extensive track records -- have struggled to protect Tatis in the lineup. The Padres hope the past two games are an indication that might be changing. They had one of the best offenses in baseball last year, and they returned starters at all eight positions.

“We haven’t reached that potential yet,” Myers said. “But this is still the same guys. It’s still the same group in there. It’s a very talented group with a lot of great hitters.”

Myers saw his OPS dip to .686 entering play Friday night, before turning on a couple fastballs for solo home runs -- one in the second inning and one in the fourth. In the fifth, Myers laced a double off the right-center field wall.

All season, Myers had tallied just three batted balls with exit velocities of 106.8 mph or harder. Until Friday night, that is, when Myers doubled that total with three more. Needless to say, a thriving Myers would be a major boost to this Padres offense.

“It’s, hopefully, the start of really good things to come,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “He’s been battling. He’s been grinding.”

The Padres’ offensive outburst was more than enough for , who was excellent again, allowing two runs over five innings while racking up a career-high-tying 11 strikeouts. After a slow start to the season, Paddack has entrenched himself as a force at the back end of the Padres rotation. He has a 3.35 ERA in eight starts since the beginning of May.

“We’re getting better every single start, and I feel like we’re finally coming out on the positive end of the past year and a half of struggles,” Paddack said.

In the top of the second inning, Paddack dealt with a 13-minute delay before taking the mound. Home-plate umpire Larry Vanover had to exit after being struck squarely in the mask with a foul ball.

While Chris Guccione retreated to the umpire’s locker room to don his gear for a move behind the plate, an impromptu dance party broke out at Petco Park. It started on the ballpark videoboard. Soon enough, it expanded to the Padres’ dugout, where Tatis and showed off a few moves.

“They’re just dancing right there in front of me,” Paddack said. “I saw a couple of the fans were putting on a show for the crowd as well. I enjoyed that little moment. I kind of had my shoulders going, as well. But I tried to stay locked in, stay focused.”

Capacity crowds? Dance parties? Home runs galore?

The vibe already feels quite different than it did two days ago at the end of a brutal 1-5 road trip. The Padres won an absolute thriller on Thursday night, playing in front of a packed Petco Park for the first time in nearly two years. They carried that into Friday, when the ballpark was buzzing again.

As was the Padres offense.

“These are some of those games that can really get you going,” Myers said. “So [we] want to keep that rolling into tomorrow."