Dynamic Asuaje shows off rare pop vs. Pirates

Dynamic Asuaje shows off rare pop vs. Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- When Carlos Asuaje mashed a deep fly to center field in the fifth inning of Friday's 10-6 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park, he instinctively began his home run trot.

He initially thought the ball had landed in the bleachers, but then he saw it rolling on the warning track. At that point, he was caught in no-man's land.

"I was like, 'It's too late to stop, so I might as well keep going.'" Asuaje said. "That's what I was thinking."

Asuaje was thrown out at third, but an official review determined that the ball had cleared the wall in right-center field before bouncing back into play. It was Asuaje's second career home run and another piece of evidence that the rookie has a promising career ahead with the Padres. He also doubled in the first and walked and scored in the seventh.

Spangenberg's run-scoring walk

"I was just getting some good pitches to hit, honestly," Asuaje said. "Not missing a pitch I was looking for. Not really trying to do too much."

Asuaje isn't known for his power, but he supplied plenty on Friday. He drove a 3-2 fastball to deep center off Pirates starter Ivan Nova for a ground-rule double in the first. He received another gift from Nova in the fifth -- an elevated changeup -- and didn't miss it.

"I don't really look at him as a power hitter," Padres manager Andy Green said. "I know he hit the ball out of the ballpark today and [hit a] double the other way that bounced over the fence, but I think his game is just getting on base and hitting singles around the yard. Occasionally he will drive the baseball.

"He's got enough power in there to run into a few home runs, but as long as he keeps getting on base and defending the field, he's going to be doing really well for us."

After picking up 24 at-bats late in the 2016 season, Asuaje has a slash line of .305/.369/.398 in 34 games as a rookie.

"Selfishly, I think I'm performing well … but I think ultimately I'm getting paid to win games," Asuaje said. "When we don't do that, it's not like I go home and celebrate just because I might be performing well. Ultimately, I want to win games, and in my opinion, that's what I am here to do. When we don't do that, it's kind of a downer for me."

Jonathan Toye is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.