PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Yonder Alonso spent part of the offseason looking for more power in his swing. It turns out he just needed to wait a bit longer.
Alonso hit his fifth home run in his last nine games and the San Diego Padres beat a split squad of Milwaukee Brewers 6-4 on Sunday.
Alonso had two hits, scored twice and drove in three runs in another solid performance in his late spring surge.
It’s a positive sign for the 25-year-old first baseman, who hit.273 with 62 RBIs in his first full major league season, but had just nine home runs at a position where power is a job requirement.
Following his offseason work, Alonso felt he didn’t have to overhaul his swing. He thought his natural gap power would lift balls over the fence with better choices.
“I did a lot of video work, and really dissected my swing to understand it better,” he said. “I saw that I didn’t have to change what I was doing. The power will come as I mature as a hitter and make better and better decisions at the plate. So far this spring, it’s been working.”
Alonso has picked it up after he was 4 for 29 in his first nine spring games. On Sunday, he drove a 1-2 pitch from Wily Peralta in the fifth inning over the wall in right.
“Yonder has taken good swings over the last two weeks,” Padres manager Buddy Black said. “The home run was nice, but I really like that it came with two strikes. He wasn’t doing a good job of making two-strike contact early in spring, so this was an important at bat in that regard.
“I also like that he wasn’t trying to hit a home run in that at-bat. It’s tough to try and generate home runs with his swing, and we’re comfortable with where it is right now. If he makes good contact, the home runs will come on their own.”
With star third baseman Chase Headley out with a broken left thumb and left fielder Carlos Quentin recovering from knee soreness, Alonso is the Padres’ only middle-of-the-order hitter with a full spring under his belt.
That doesn’t mean Alonso will try to carry San Diego’s offense on his own.
“I’m just one piece of a larger puzzle,” Alonso said. “When you try and take on too much or assume more responsibility, you end up hindering your own progress. I’m just going to be me, and try to drive in runs whenever possible.”
Peralta pitched in a game light on Milwaukee regulars. He allowed six runs and 10 hits in 5-1/3 innings.
Eric Stults pitched six innings for San Diego, yielding four runs and seven hits. Closer Huston Street pitched a perfect seventh for his seventh straight scoreless outing.
Brewers shortstop Donnie Murphy was 2 for 3 with a double, a home run and three RBIs.
Notes: Quentin played in a minor league game for the fifth time in eight days. He went 1 for 2 with a double, two RBIs, a walk and a sacrifice fly. He played six innings in the field. . . . 3B Logan Forsythe (plantar fasciitis) played in a Double-A minor-league game, and went 3 for 4 with a home run and two singles. He played three innings at his position. RF Will Venable also played in that game. . . . CF Cameron Maybin was removed from the Padres’ major league game with a sore knee, but Black said the move was precautionary.