Manuel Margot hits 2 homers in win vs. Dodgers

“There’s 20-homer pop in him,” manager Andy Green said. “Didn’t necessarily expect him to start pushing towards that his rookie season. Some guys, it looks like it’s going to take them longer to get there than other guys, but he’s starting to put himself in a better position to hit.

“We’re excited about what he’s doing and the way he competes.”

Green on Margot and Hand

Friday was Margot’s second two-homer game of his young career, having also done it against the Giants, another National League West rival, in the Padres’ home opener. His first game-tying shot vs. the Dodgers came in the third on a Rich Hill curveball, considered one of the best breaking pitches in baseball.

Ross Stripling was Margot’s next victim, with Margot sending a fastball up in the zone a Statcast™-projected 405 feet to dead center. At night at Dodger Stadium, that’s no easy feat, but Margot said quality contact allowed the ball to go over the fence.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to do so much with power,” Margot said through a team interpreter. “I think it’s really the contact you put on the ball, and the contact is the result of your swing. If you end up making good contact, then I know that I have the strength to hit it out.”

Margot declined to say Green was underselling him at 20 home runs a season, pointing out he’s a young player on a still inexperienced team.

“It’s a process of learning,” Margot said. “The more you learn, the more you work, the more you try to absorb in this game, in this business, you’re going to be better. And I think that’s listening to your teammates, that’s listening to everyone, and you’re going to do that and get better as an individual and get better as a team.”

In his team’s youth, Margot sees potential. The Dodgers, by record, are the best team in baseball, having lost only six times in their past 32 games. The Padres delivered two of those losses, with Margot homering in both games.

The Padres are working toward making both of those events occur more regularly.

“Ultimately, we can do that in the future, where we’re playing and competing with this team or any other team,” Margot said. “If that means ultimately that thinking we can win a championship, too, I think that’s on the table.”

Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for based in San Diego. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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