Margot, Renfroe rise to challenge vs. Dodgers

Margot, Renfroe rise to challenge vs. Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe are Padres rookies in the National League West. For the better part of the next decade, they're going to see an awful lot of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Both are quick to acknowledge that the Dodgers are the team to beat in the division. It's their job to change that over the next couple seasons -- and they're already doing their part.

Entering play Saturday night, Margot was slashing .362/.404/.660 against the Dodgers, including a pair of game-tying home runs in a dramatic 4-3 come-from-behind win Friday. Renfroe is hitting .360/.396/.680 against Los Angeles with his own share of memorable moments in those games.

"It's definitely fun," Margot said through a team interpreter. "That's why you play the game. You come out here to be tested, playing a team like that."

For Renfroe, it's deeper than Padres-Dodgers rivalry. From the time he reached Class A Advanced, he noticed the games between Rancho Cucamonga and Lake Elsinore carried a bit of extra weight.

When El Paso, the Padres' Triple-A affiliate, beat Oklahoma City in the Pacific Coast League Championship Series last year, it was most certainly a matchup of rivals.

Must C: Renfroe's seven-RBI game

After his ensuing callup, Renfroe introduced himself to the big league Dodgers emphatically. He smacked a pair of homers and drove in seven runs in his first game. A night later, he crushed his now-famous home run to the roof of the Western Metal Building.

"Any game you play against the Dodgers is exciting, and that's always how it's been, whether it's High A, Double-A or Triple-A," Renfroe said. "It's always been competitive."

The goal, for the Padres, is for that to carry over into the Majors.

"They're a team that has won the division four, five years straight," Margot said. "If you're going to be the best, you've got to play with the best. For us, it's something we take pride in, playing well against them."

It's probably too early to assign Renfroe and Margot the moniker of "Dodger killers." But there's no question they've embraced the challenge.

"It just seems like there's something else on the line," Renfroe said of playing Los Angeles. "Even if we're not in [the race] and they are, there's a greater meaning to it. It feels different."

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