Myers' tweaks paying dividends at the plate

Myers' tweaks paying dividends at the plate

PITTSBURGH -- Wil Myers declined to disclose too many specifics, but admitted something clicked while he was in the batting cage Saturday.

Whatever adjustments he made in the cage carried over into Saturday's game, as Myers snapped out of a prolonged slump during the Padres' 5-2 win over the Pirates at PNC Park to go 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and three RBIs.

"There were some things [Myers] chose to work on today that seemed to have clicked for him a little bit. He felt very good going into the game today," Padres manager Andy Green said. "It's good to get a couple hits for him and on base four times. I would love to see him turn it on and turn back into who we know he is."

Myers leads the Padres in hits (93), RBIs (49), and home runs (21), but still entered Saturday batting just .185 over his last 35 games, a skid dating back to June 19. He was hitting .265/.326/.489 with 29 extra-base hits in his first 68 games.

The Padres gave him two days off last weekend. That didn't help. They moved him to the fifth spot in the lineup. That didn't work either. He entered Saturday hitless in his last 13 at-bats.

But Myers knew why he was struggling: He had to do a better job staying behind the baseball. He was drifting forward too much, causing him to get beat on fastballs and foul off too many pitches.

He watched videos of his swings, inspecting all angles to see if he could identify a specific problem.

Myers' two-run home run

"I felt like I had some flaws in my swing," Myers said. "It's something that if I am going to hit again, I am going to have figure those out."

But Myers didn't know for sure if those changes would translate to success at the plate. He just had to string together competitive at-bats.

And that's exactly what Myers did. After getting hit by a pitch by Gerrit Cole during his first trip to the plate, Myers battled through an eight-pitch at-bat that ended when he drove a 3-2 changeup to left field. Starling Marte couldn't quite corral the ball and it fell harmlessly to the ground to score the game's first run.

"It's good to just be able to foul off some tough pitches and be able to come through and get a little luck involved with it as well," Myers said. "That's something I feel like I haven't had a ton of along with not playing well. So it's good to have a little bit of both right there."

But his best was yet to come: Myers pounced on Cole's first-pitch fastball in the fifth, belting it 110.2 mph, according to Statcast™, to dead center field for his 21st homer. "It didn't get down in the zone," Cole said. "That was the one really bad mistake for the evening."

But Myers has struggled capitalizing on pitchers' mistakes in the past. Saturday's performance suggested that could soon change.

"I feel like I am headed in the right direction now," Myers said. "I feel like there are some things that I have looked at that have kind of clicked. Hopefully I can just build off that."

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.