December 5, 2022

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Padres bury Braves with 16 hits, 2 big breakouts

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ATLANTA — Ha-Seong Kim‘s seventh-inning three-run homer awoke the Padres’ offense late to close out an 11-6 win over the Braves at Truist Park on Friday night.

San Diego got a quick scare in the sixth inning when a bloop single that popped out of the glove of a sliding Wil Myers in the Bermuda Triangle between first, second and right field extended the inning and opened the door for a three-run home run that gave Atlanta the lead. 

“I knew as I was coming in, it was going to be a slide. That’s a play that I felt that I should make,” Myers said. “It hit off my glove, it is what it is, one of those things that kind of happens at times. The good news is we came back and won the game, so not many people remember the fly ball anymore.”

Kim’s seventh-inning blast was the reason to forget the fly ball. After the go-ahead long ball, the Padres’ offense stayed hot. The team scored seven runs across the last three innings, three of which came from Trent Grisham’s pinch-hit bases-clearing double in the ninth. 

San Diego put together a season-high-tying 16 hits, with every player that came to the plate except one — the red-hot Manny Machado — recording at least one knock. Machado did, however, reach base on an intentional walk in the fifth.

“That’s what I loved most about the game tonight,” interim manager Ryan Christenson said. “There were some tough moments, and then we went ahead, had a couple plays that had some guys feeling a little bit down right there. And the team picked them up, and we bounced right back and came right back at them and scored a bunch of runs, had a bunch of hits.”

Before Friday night’s 3-for-5 performance, three RBIs and three runs scored, Kim had just one hit in his last seven games (27 plate appearances).

“There were a bunch of moments [this season] that I thought it was going to be a home run or it was going to be a base hit at least, but our coaching staff kept telling me, like, ‘Hey you’re doing good, just keep doing what you’ve been doing and eventually it’ll find the hole and you’ll get a good result,'” Kim said. “So, I just trust my coaching staff, I just kept doing what I’ve been doing, just go out there and do my job, and today I was able to get a good result.”

Grisham was nearly in the same boat, going hitless in his last four games and having just one hit through the last eight games (32 plate appearances) before knocking in three insurance runs to give the Padres’ relievers some breathing room.

“I was texting with [Grisham] a little bit before the game today, telling him about my decision to start José [Azocar],” Christenson said. “And I told him, I said, ‘I see spots still in this game to come off the bench.’ It showed up there at the end with the bases loaded, and the fact that he was able to knock it over the left fielder’s head and clear the bases has gotta be sending him back to the hotel tonight feeling real good.”

Christenson had the option to pinch-hit Robinson Canó after the Padres signed the 39-year-old veteran before Friday’s game, but he decided to give the second baseman a little extra rest before thrusting him into a high-pressure situation.

“I thought about [Canó]. It was a long day for him,” Christenson said. “It was a coin flip for me; I wanted to get both these guys going but decided to go with Grisham, and I was glad that he came through.”

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