Schimpf's moonshot sends SD's HR streak to 21 games
Rookie third baseman swats 8th homer in July
By Alex Putterman
WASHINGTON -- The Padres' franchise-record home run streak is still alive.
Ryan Schimpf's thunderous long ball in the second inning of San Diego's 3-2 loss to the Nationals on Saturday gave the Padres their 21st consecutive game with a homer. The streak is now the longest in the National League since the Braves homered in 23 straight games in 2006.
Despite the streak's growing historical significance, the players continue to downplay how much they think about it. Schimpf said it wasn't even a subject of conversation in the clubhouse.
"I don't think anyone's actually brought it up, to be honest with you," the rookie second baseman said. "No one's talking about that really."
But Schimpf's home run was notable for more than just its implications on the streak. It was the 28-year-old's eighth homer in July, making him the second Padres rookie (along with Jedd Gyorko in August 2013) to ever hit that many in one calendar month.
The blast, which gave the Padres a 2-0 lead, came off a 95-mph fastball that Max Scherzer left up in the zone. The ball hit the upper-deck façade in right field and caromed back onto the field.
"His fastball's good, so I was just trying to get geared up for a good pitch to drive," Schimpf said. "I got a good pitch and put a good swing on it."
Scherzer said he was as upset about falling behind Schimpf as he was at serving up the home run pitch.
"It was just one of those things with Schimpf where I was more mad with 2-0 than with the pitch [he hit for a home run]," Scherzer said. "If you fall behind 2-0 in this league and get behind, you're going to get beat."
Later in the game, the Nationals showed just how much they respected Schimpf's bat. With a runner on second base and two outs in the top of the ninth, Washington manager Dusty Baker had Jonathan Papelbon intentionally walk the rookie.
The decision to award Schimpf a free pass proved wise, as pinch-hitter Brett Wallace popped up to end the inning.
"This guy's been hot and he's been hitting the ball hard, that's why we walked him," Baker said. "We knew we were going to face Wallace, but most of the time you'd rather face a guy coming off the bench than a guy that's been in the ballgame."
Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.