SAN DIEGO (AP) Rookie Tommy Medica walked into the San Diego Padres’ equipment room to get a new cap before Friday night’s game and noticed one of Yasmani Grandal’s 35-inch, 32-ounce Louisville Slugger bats.
”I saw a nice-looking piece of lumber,” said Medica, who normally swings a 34-31 bat. ”I Picked it up, it felt good. I said, `I’m going to try it out today.’ `’
Great move, because it powered a career night.
Medica had five hits, including two two-run home runs, drove in four runs and scored four runs – all career-bests – to lead the Padres to a 10-1 win against the Atlanta Braves.
”Can he borrow it tomorrow?” said manager Bud Black, who will write Medica into the lineup again Saturday night.
”That was quite a night for him. The two swings to start the night for him were great swings.”
Left-hander Eric Stults and three relievers combined on a four-hitter. Everth Cabrera had four hits for the Padres, who had a season-high 20.
Medica’s previous career-high was four hits a week earlier at Atlanta. He made his big league debut in September and is in his third stint with the Padres this season.
Medica’s second shot, on a 1-0 pitch from Mike Minor with one out in the third, went an estimated 438 feet into the second deck in left field and gave San Diego a 5-0 lead. His first homer, also to left, was on a 1-1 pitch with two outs in the first. He has six this season. Medica singled in his final three at-bats.
”I was feeling good and it just seemed like good things happened. To get that last hit like that, it was just the way the game was going,” he said.
Medica’s first big league hit was a homer off Cliff Lee in the second at-bat of his debut on Sept. 10.
”Tommy can be a little streaky at times so hopefully right now we’re catching him in a hot streak,” Black said.
The Braves, who lost their fourth straight game, have been held to 10 runs total in their last five games.
Stults (4-13) won for just the second time in his last 11 starts. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth, when a two-base error by right fielder Jeff Francoeur on B.J. Upton’s fly ball to the warning track led to an unearned run. Chris Johnson hit an RBI single with two outs.
Cabrera scored twice and drove in a run. He was aboard for Medica’s first homer. Jedd Gyorko, who continues to hit well after his return from a 44-game stay on the disabled list, was aboard for Medica’s second shot after hitting an RBI double in the third inning.
Gyorko is 8 for 19 with two doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four runs scored in his five games back.
Minor (4-7) allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings, walked two and struck out one. He has allowed six runs in three of his last four starts.
San Diego’s hitting frustrated the Braves.
”They found holes,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said. ”We never seemed to be close to it. We would play a little shift and they would hit the ball down the line. We played the line, they would hit a ball in the hole. Tommy (La Stella) is playing a shift on Tommy Medica and he hits two ground balls to the right side. Will Venable is looping balls in front of our outfielders. It was just one of those things.”
Braves: Outfielder Jason Heyward missed his fourth straight game with back stiffness. He left Monday’s game against San Diego. He originally was hurt while chasing a foul ball on July 24.
Padres: Grandal, the catcher, missed his second straight game with fluid in his right knee, which was surgically repaired last summer.
Braves: Right-hander Ervin Santana (10-6, 3.63) tries to beat Padres in consecutive starts. He pitched five-hit ball for eight innings in Monday’s 2-0 win in Atlanta.
Padres: Right-hander Ian Kennedy (8-9, 3.66) returns after missing his start Monday at Atlanta because of a left oblique strain.
HEADS UP PLAY
Medica singled in the fifth and advanced on Rene Rivera’s grounder to third. With the Braves not paying any attention to him, Medica stole third.
”I just kind of saw the shortstop and third baseman. They turned around and Minor was still kind of looking at the plate,” Medica said. ”I just started walking and noticed no one was still seeing me and I took off. With a lefty on the mound I knew it would be tough to turn all the way around and throw me out.”
After a brutal first half, the Padres have scored 71 runs in 14 games since the All-Star break, the most in the NL.
Gyorko is hitting .421 (8 for 19) with two doubles, three homers and seven RBIs in five games back from the DL.