Venable comes through in 'tough' pinch-hitting role

Padres outfielder hits game-winning HR in 11th vs. Cardinals

Venable comes through in 'tough' pinch-hitting role

ST. LOUIS -- Will Venable would love to tell you he has this whole pinch-hitting thing down, but the reality is the Padres' outfielder is realizing just how difficult that job can be.

On Thursday night, Venable sat for three-plus hours before getting his chance. He made the most of it, hitting a two-run home run in the 11th inning of the Padres' 5-3 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

"It's tough," he said. "[You're] just trying to be ready. For me, that means being able to put my best swing on a pitch I want to swing at," Venable said.

"So getting through all that information and being prepared and then going and executing it, which has been difficult for me, but you can overcomplicate things if you just go up there and get ready to swing right away."

Venable's home run came off Cardinals' reliever Carlos Villanueva and it followed a double by Clint Barmes with two outs -- though it took an overturned call by replay to give Barmes a hit after his fly ball down the right field line and in the corner was initially ruled a foul ball.

Barmes nets double after review

Venable, who was 1-for-17 as a pinch-hitter coming into that at-bat, was excited to get a chance to hit.

"As soon as I saw the replay, I was excited and got my mind on hitting with a runner on second base," Venable said.

Venable jumped on a first-pitch curveball, sending it over the fence in right-center field.

"He's not the best pinch-hitter if you look at the numbers, but he's such a team guy," said San Diego interim manager Pat Murphy of Venable. "He's focused on the team. It was a beautiful way to help this team."

As for his lack of success pinch-hitting, Venable said he doesn't pay too much attention to the statistical end of it all. Each at-bat, each opportunity, he said, is a chance to make a difference.

"As players, you're attached to numbers in every situation. It's your job to kind of separate yourself from those," Venable said. "You've got a job to do, and that's all there is."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.