SAN DIEGO — Welcome to Slam Diego.
Baseball has never seen a power display like the one put on by the San Diego Padres, who hit their fifth grand slam in six games — this time by rookie Jake Cronenworth — to go along with Trent Grisham's three home runs Saturday night in a 13-2 rout of the Houston Astros.
The Padres have added mannequins wearing team gear to the home run deck in right field, and Cronenworth's shot in the second inning landed near one wearing a No. 4 Slam Diego jersey.
Cronenworth said it was that much more impressive that he was the fifth Padres player to hit a grand slam during the week. San Diego has won six in a row.
“It’s somebody different every single night stepping up," he said. "Grish has three home runs tonight, Manny (Machado) hit a home run tonight, Wil (Myers) hit a home run tonight, Zach Davies had an incredible outing. It started with him shutting their offence down and getting us back in the dugout as quick as possible.”
Cronenworth drove a 3-1 pitch from Humberto Castellanos into the home run deck in right field to give the Padres an 11-1 lead. It was San Diego’s third homer of the inning.
“Put a good swing on a good pitch,” Cronenworth said. "Just keep my approach up the middle. Just happened to put a good swing on it.”
Cronenworth, obtained along with outfielder Tommy Pham in an off-season trade with Tampa Bay, became the 20th Padres rookie to hit a grand slam. It was his third homer of the year, and he had his first three-hit game.
Padres manager Jayce Tingler said it was “impressive but not a shock” that Cronenworth hit a grand slam.
"He continues to hang good at-bats every night. For him to be able to get a pitch there and to get it out of the ballpark there was not a surprise because he’s been having tremendous at-bats. It’s good to see him get rewarded,” Tingler said.
Earlier in the week, the Padres became the first team in history to hit grand slams in four straight games during a sweep of the Texas Rangers in a home-and-home series.
That onslaught started with Fernando Tatis Jr.’s slam Monday night on a 3-0 count with a seven-run lead, reigniting a debate about etiquette and baseball’s so-called “unwritten rules.” Myers hit a slam on Tuesday, Machado had a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning Wednesday night and Eric Hosmer capped the run with a historic shot on Thursday night.
Hosmer batted with the bases loaded Friday night but grounded out.
On Saturday night, Myers opened the second inning with a homer and Grisham hit a three-run shot with one out — with Cronenworth aboard on a single. Tatis was hit by a pitch from rookie Brandon Bielak (3-1), who made way for Castellanos. Both teams were warned by the umpires, and Houston’s Martin Maldonado was ejected from the dugout.
Grisham also hit a leadoff shot and Machado had a solo shot with one out in the first.
The six homers tied the Padres’ home record set Aug. 9 against Arizona.
Grisham recently moved into the leadoff spot.
“Obviously tonight he was really good at the plate," Tingler said. “Probably the most impressive was the last one, being able to go opposite field. The ball just exploded off his bat. It was kind of a no-doubter.”
The Padres "have a fine young combination of speed and power over there," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “They have quite a few guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark. We were a little surprised by the power that Grisham had. They weren’t missing balls. If it was a mistake, they were hitting it.”
Davies (4-2), who came over from Milwaukee with Grisham in an off-season deal, pitched eight brilliant innings to give the beat-up bullpen a much-needed rest. He held the Astros to two runs and four hits while striking out seven and walking two in going eight innings for the second time in his career.
Davies retired 11 straight batters between allowing Yuli Gurriel’s sacrifice fly in the first inning and Taylor Jones’ first career homer in the fifth.
Bielak gave up seven runs and five hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Astros: Zack Grienke (1-0, 1.84 ERA) is scheduled to start the series finale Sunday. He is 13-3 with a 2.37 ERA in 25 career starts against San Diego.
Padres: LHP Adrian Morejon (0-0, 0.00) makes his second start.
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Bernie Wilson, The Associated Press