Solarte's clutch hit rallies Padres

Solarte's clutch hit rallies Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Sure, the Petco Park faithful would've gone bonkers for anybody with three hits and the decisive double in Friday's home opener -- a thrilling 7-6 victory over the Giants.

But there's something about Padres fans and Yangervis Solarte these days.

Over the past couple seasons, the fans in San Diego have clearly gravitated to the fiery second baseman. And manager Andy Green has an idea why.

"It's hard not to gravitate to him," Green said. "It's an infectious personality on the baseball field. When he gets big hits, he shows big emotion. People enjoy seeing that. ... You can just tell he loves playing baseball. If I want to pay money to go watch a team play, I want to see guys who love to play baseball. He shows that every single day."

Solarte lines another RBI single

He certainly showed it Friday, going 3-for-5 with four RBIs, as the Padres rallied to beat San Francisco. Solarte's seventh-inning double off Giants reliever George Kontos plated two runs and put the Friars on top for good.

Upon reaching second base, Solarte punctuated yet another clutch hit with an overhand alligator clap (which he typically reserves for home runs).

"I was really just trying to do my job, trying to drive those guys in," Solarte said through a team interpreter. "I made good contact."

During the offseason, Solarte signed a two-year contract extension with team options for the 2019 and '20 seasons.

In parts of three seasons with the Padres, Solarte has gone from utility infielder to one of the lineup's more reliable run-producers. He wanted to make sure he locked down his future here.

"I definitely like playing for this city," Solarte said. "It was a city I wanted to play in for quite some time leading up to [the extension]. To be here now is something I really enjoy, especially with this group."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.