Silver Slugger: J-Up keeps swinging hot bat
SAN DIEGO -- About 20 minutes before the start of Saturday's game against the Dodgers, Padres' left fielder Justin Upton stood at home plate next to the man responsible for bringing him to San Diego -- first-year general manager, A.J. Preller.
Preller presented Upton with a Silver Slugger Award from the offensive damage he created with his mighty right-handed swing last season with the Braves.
"It's awesome to be recognized for the season I had," Upton said after an 11-8 loss to the Dodgers at Petco Park. "It's exciting to get that award."
The way Upton has been swinging the bat, he looks like he's intent on adding even more hardware in the future, as he hit two home runs and drove in five runs for the Padres in Saturday's defeat.
"I was on time. My timing was a little off the previous days," Upton said. "But today ... I was on time."
Generally, Upton has been all month. He leads the team with five home runs and ranks second to Matt Kemp (14 RBIs) with his 13 RBIs.
Trailing 3-0, the Padres got back into the game on Saturday with Wil Myers' leadoff home run in the first. Upton later connected for a two-run homer off Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy. Later, Upton connected for a three-run home run in the sixth inning off McCarthy again.
"He's got real power. His ability to hit home runs to all parts of the park is legit," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He's got all-field power. Too bad it was on a night when our pitching wasn't up to par."
Upton's five home runs in April are the most for a Padres player in the first month of the season since Adrian Gonzalez hit six in 2010.
Despite being down 3-0 before they hit and later down 10-3, the Padres kept chipping away. Having hitters like Upton, Matt Kemp and Myers certainly helps.
"We have a very resilient team," Upton said. "We know no game is ever over. If the pitchers can hold them, we have a chance. Every night we're going to go out and battle."