Gyorko reaches season-high with resurgent bat

Homers not a new problem with Shields

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Jedd Gyorko's two-home-run game Tuesday night in Washington raised his batting averageto a season high .240.

Gyorko has been a much improved hitter since returning on June 30 from a 20-game refresher course at Triple-A El Paso.

Before being optioned to the Chihuahuas, Gyorko was hitting .210 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 113 at-bats.

Since returning, Gyorko is batting .262 (43-for-164) with six doubles, eight homers and 26 RBIs for a .445 slugging percentage. Gyorko is currently on a five-game hitting streak, going 6-for-17 with a double, the two homers, three RBIs and three runs scored.

Plus, Gyorko is hitting .400 (4-for-10) with Tuesday's two homers and three RBIs in his first four games as a shortstop.


-- Right-handed starter James Shields gave up his 25th homer of the season Tuesday night in Washington. Home runs are not a new issue with Shields. Tuesday's was only the fifth homer he has allowed with a runner on base this season. Home runs have accounted for only 30 of the 76 runs he has allowed. And he's given up homers in the past - 227 exact in 285 starts coming into this season. But his career rate was 1.07 home runs per nine innings coming into this season. This year, Shields has a home run rate of 1.37 per nine innings.

--Right fielder Matt Kemp was 0-for-3 with a walk Tuesday, putting an end to his 15-game hitting streak. The streak was the longest by a Padre since outfielder Will Venable hit in 15 straight games in 2013. Kemp had a 16-straight game last season with the Dodgers. Kemp was 22-for-61 (.361) during the streak with a double, a triple and four home runs for 17 RBIs and 10 runs scored with a .607 slugging percentage and a .409 on-base percentage for a 1.016 OPS.

-- Right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley pitched a scoreless inning in Washington Tuesday night. It was his 13thstraight scoreless outing. During the run, Kelley has allowed five hits and three walks with 14 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings. Since May 17, Kelley has allowed four runs on 23 hits and five walks with 44 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings for a 0.93 ERA. His overall ERA now is a season-low 2.58.

-- Third baseman Yangervis Solarte has hit safely in five of his last six games, going 9-for-26 with three home runs - in three consecutive games - for seven RBIs and four runs scored. He also committed his eighth and ninth errors of the season in his past two games.

-- First baseman Yonder Alonso also has an active, five-game hitting streak. He is 6-for-19 during the streak with a double and four runs scored with three walks.