Myers makes 'grand' return to Padres lineup

August 19th, 2020

' back is healed. He left no doubt by putting the Padres on it in the first inning of Tuesday's 6-4 victory over the Rangers at Globe Life Field.

In his first at-bat following a two-day absence due to upper back tightness, Myers unloaded on a changeup from Mike Minor, mashing the Padres' second grand slam in as many games. (The count, in case you were wondering, was 2-2.)

It came a day after Fernando Tatis Jr.'s controversial salami, making Tatis and Myers the first pair of Padres teammates to hit grand slams in consecutive games since Chase Headley and Kyle Blanks in 2011 -- and just the fifth San Diego duo to ever do so.

"It was great to start my day off with the best situation possible," Myers said. "Back-to-back nights like that, it's pretty special. It really gets the offense going."

There was slightly less controversy surrounding this one, considering the count and the score were both even at the time. But Myers was quick to thrust his full support behind Tatis, whose second home run on Monday night came with a 3-0 count and the Padres ahead by seven.

"When those situations happen, you want to put it behind you and come back and beat them on the field," Myers said of the Rangers' displeasure at Tatis' 3-0 swing. "At the end of the day, that's what holds the most weight."

It was Myers' first grand slam since his first career home run, a June 22, 2013, blast against CC Sabathia at Yankee Stadium -- the start of his American League Rookie of the Year Award campaign.

Myers has given the Padres everything they could've hoped for this season -- especially in the wake of Tommy Pham's struggles and his recent hamate bone injury in his left hand that is expected to keep him out for approximately a month.

Unlike in recent seasons, the Padres haven't placed too big of a burden on Myers. Instead, they've batted him sixth in their order almost exclusively, and he's produced in a big way. Through 22 games, Myers is hitting .286/.368/.623 with six homers.

'Playoff baseball'
With Kirby Yates expected to miss the remainder of the season, Drew Pomeranz is still the Padres' closer. But evidently that role is flexible.

As the Rangers roared back from a 6-0 deficit on Tuesday afternoon, Padres manager Jayce Tingler called for Pomeranz in the top of the seventh inning.

It was a sensible move, if not a traditional one. The Rangers were at the top of their order, with two lefties and a switch-hitter due up over their next four batters.

"We have it designed to get the ball to 'Pom' in the ninth," Tingler said. "The script flipped a little bit. We just made the call that, 'Let's stop the momentum.'"

Pomeranz did just that, retiring all three hitters he'd face in the seventh, then getting Joey Gallo to start the eighth. From there, Tingler turned the ball over to Emilio Pagán in hopes of a five-out save.

Pagán got four of those outs before tiring in the ninth, allowing a single to Shin-Soo Choo and a walk to Danny Santana. Tingler then called upon do-it-all right-hander Cal Quantrill for his first career save opportunity.

"I've watched Kirby do it about 1,000 times," Quantrill said. "Just trying to do my best impression."

Quantrill started Saturday's game, pitching 3 2/3 innings against the D-backs. He's pitched in long and short relief in the past. But he's never been used as a closer.

"It was just a weird game," Quantrill said. "We had to get important outs early on. Kind of last-man-standing out there. I kind of feel like, in the end, it's getting people out, regardless of what inning it happens in."

A weird game. Or as Tingler put it: "Felt like playoff baseball today."

Morejon dazzles in 2020 debut
The back end of the Padres' bullpen was spread thin, but it could've been spread a little thinner if not for an excellent 2020 debut from left-hander Adrian Morejon.

The 21-year-old prospect was called up Tuesday morning, as the Padres optioned Luis Perdomo to their alternate training site. The plan was for Morejon to work two innings. But he was so sharp and so efficient, they finagled another out of him.

Morejon faced 10 hitters, striking out four, while allowing one walk and no hits. Suffice it to say, he's earned himself a more permanent place on the Padres' pitching staff.

"All I know is this: He continues to throw the ball like that, there will be roles for him, whether that's coming out of the 'pen or another start," Tingler said. "Because that's exactly what we needed. That was power stuff, that was swing-and-miss, that was aggressive, that was a good tempo. It was everything we're looking for."