Jay, Myers spearhead offensive surge

Padres rank second in average, OPS in National League in June

Jay, Myers spearhead offensive surge

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

After struggling the first two months of the season, the Padres' offense has come alive with a vengeance in June. Through the first 17 games this month, the Padres rank second in batting average (.282) and OPS (.787) for June and rank third in homers (23) and runs scored per game (5.25).

You don't have to look very far down the batting order to find the reasons why. Leadoff hitter Jon Jay is hitting .366 (26-for-71) in 17 games in June. The center fielder is batting .319 (69-for-216) over his last 55 games. And No. 2 hitter Wil Myers has been on fire this month. Myers is hitting .373 (25-for-67) this month. And that's a small part of the story.

The first baseman's first-inning homer Saturday night was his team-leading 16th of the season and his ninth this month, which is one shy of the Padres record for June set by Greg Vaughn during his club-record 50-homer season of 1998. Myers' homer was his 11th at Petco Park in 39 home games this season. The club record for homers at Petco Park in a season is 15.

Myers also had two doubles Saturday, including a game-tying two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth that got the game-winning, six-run rally rolling.

Myers has eight doubles with those nine homers in June for 22 RBIs. And there are still nine games to play this month starting with Sunday afternoon's finale of a seven-game homestand against the Nationals at Petco Park.

Myers, however, gives Jay credit for getting the Padres rolling.

"I really believe hitting is contagious," Myers said after Saturday night's win. "Ever since he went 9-for-10 in those back-to-back games [on June 1-2 against Seattle], we've taken off."

"He got me started. I think what the lead-off hitter does affects the entire team."

Of course, the June surge extends beyond the top two hitters in the order. Matt Kemp is hitting .354 in June after hitting only .186 in May for the second straight season. Kemp is 23-for-68 this month with four doubles, two homers and 13 RBIs.

NOTES FROM THE SCOREBOOK

--Right-handed starter Colin Rea allowed two runs on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings Saturday night in what was arguably his strongest start of the season. The Padres are 7-7 in Rea's 14 starts this season.

--Right-handed reliever Fernando Rodney didn't get a save Saturday night since he entered the game with a four-run lead. But he did strike out the side around hitting a hitter to run his scoreless innings streak to 24 1/3 innings - the longest run ever by a Padres reliever to start a season.

--Left-handed reliever Ryan Buchter struck out the side on 15 pitches in the ninth Friday night. He has six straight scoreless outings to lower his ERA back to 1.80 after giving up four runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter during the bullpen's meltdown on June 2 against Seattle. He has been scored upon in only three of his 32 outings this season.

--Infielder Alexi Amarista singled in his only at-bat Saturday night and is 5-for-9 in his last five games with a walk, two RBIs and a run scored. He has raised his average from .239 to .276 with the surge.

--Infielder Yangervis Solarte, who didn't start Saturday night to give his bruised thumb more time to heal, capped the six-run rally with a two-run, bloop single to left.