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Lineup change pays dividends for offense

Pirela mashes long HR out of three-hole, Myers goes 3-for-4 in move to leadoff
MLB.com @AJCassavell

PHILADELPHIA -- Wil Myers looked an awful lot like a leadoff man Friday night, setting the table with three hits and a stolen base in the Padres' 4-3 victory over Philadelphia. Fitting, of course, because Myers filled that role for the first time in 2017 Friday.

In the meantime, Jose Pirela looked an awful lot like a No. 3 hitter, mashing his first-inning home run a projected 450 feet according to Statcast™ -- the longest dinger at Citizens Bank Park this season. Fitting, too, because Pirela was batting third for the first time in his career.

Full Game Coverage

PHILADELPHIA -- Wil Myers looked an awful lot like a leadoff man Friday night, setting the table with three hits and a stolen base in the Padres' 4-3 victory over Philadelphia. Fitting, of course, because Myers filled that role for the first time in 2017 Friday.

In the meantime, Jose Pirela looked an awful lot like a No. 3 hitter, mashing his first-inning home run a projected 450 feet according to Statcast™ -- the longest dinger at Citizens Bank Park this season. Fitting, too, because Pirela was batting third for the first time in his career.

Full Game Coverage

"That ball he hit was one of the hardest baseballs I've seen hit all year," said Padres manager Andy Green. "I think it was still going up when it went out."

Pirela's blast left his bat at 109 mph and was the second-longest by a Padre this season. Only Myers' 453-foot moonshot in Chicago traveled farther.

Of late, however, Myers had fallen into a bit of a slump. He was 1-for-15 with 10 strikeouts in his previous four games.

"I've struggled pretty bad the last couple weeks, nothing really clicking," Myers said. "Maybe it's one of those things where a change of scenery in the lineup, just hitting in a different spot, can really get you going."

For one night at least, it worked. Before the game, Myers insisted he wouldn't change his approach simply to fit his new lineup spot. Nevertheless, he was a one-man rally in the top of the eighth, dropping a bunt single up the third-base line and swiping second three pitches later.

"Wil's as fast as just about anybody in Major League Baseball," Green said. "A lot of people don't realize that, because he's over there playing first base, he's hitting in the 3-hole. You put him in the 1-hole, and he starts bunting and running, you see some of the different aspects of his game. He's capable of doing a lot more than people give him credit for."

The Padres had mulled moving Myers up in the lineup for the better part of the past week. After the game, Green was (half-jokingly) kicking himself for his decision not to do so sooner.

Ultimately, Pirela's success made Green comfortable enough to move Myers, knowing he had a run-producing bat to insert at No. 3. Since his June 6 callup, Pirela is now batting .300/.342/.527.

With a month like that, Pirela has earned his hacks in the middle of the Padres' lineup. And he'll get a few more.

"Jose Pirela's been outstanding," Green said. "... He's been huge for us. He's been a consistent at-bat guy, every single day he's been here. He'll be right back in that spot tomorrow."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Diego Padres, Jose Pirela