Hitting improves, but losses mount in finales

Top of the order hitting .385 in June

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

The Padres completed their eight-game homestand with a 5-3 record. And all three losses came in the finale of a series to continue a disturbing trend. The Padres are 1-19 this season in the final games of series.

"I saw that stat earlier this week, and I don't know what to think of it," said Wil Myers, who hit two homers in Wednesday afternoon's 4-2 loss to the Braves at Petco Park. "It's weird, but it has to change moving forward."

In fact, the only time the Padres won a series finale this season is when they swept a doubleheader from the Cubs on May 11 at Wrigley Field.

"We need to get the job done," said Padres manager Andy Green of the stat. "There are no more words than that."

Other than losing the three series finales, there was notable improvement during the homestand that also opened June. The top four hitters in the Padres' batting order are 50-for 130 (.385) with nine doubles, seven homers, 27 RBIs and 32 runs scored for the first eight games in June.

Center fielder Jon Jay is 14-for-37 (.378) in June with three doubles, three RBIs and nine runs scored. He has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games, batting .343 (23-for-67) with seven doubles and a homer.

Myers has scored at least one run in eight games in June and is hitting .471 (16-for-34) with four doubles and five homers for 11 runs and 11 RBIs for the month.

Right fielder Matt Kemp is 11-for-34 (.324) in June with a double and a homer for nine RBIs and six runs scored.

Infielder Yangervis Solarte is 8-for-26 in June with a homer and four RBIs.

Two other hitters of note in June: Shortstop Alexei Ramirez was 0-for-3 Wednesday to snap a season-best, 10-game hitting streak. He was 13-for-37 (.351) during the streak with a double, three home runs, eight RBIs and six runs scored. And catcher Derek Norris is 10-for-27 in his last seven starts with two doubles and two homers for six RBIs and five runs scored. The surge has raised his average from .179 to .208.

NOTES FROM THE SCOREBOOK:

• Right-handed reliever Brandon Maurer gave up a run on two extra-base hits with a walk and a strikeout in an inning Wednesday. On May 12, Maurer's ERA was 3.79. Now it is 7.39. Over his last 12 appearances, Maurer has allowed 16 runs on 18 hits (including four home runs) and seven walks in 10 1/3 innings. More recently, Maurer has allowed 12 runs on 12 hits in four innings over his last six outings.

• The Padres have scored 16 runs in the first innings of their eight games in June. They scored 14 runs in the first innings of their 53 games in April and May.